A mere five wins wasn't enough to keep the Huskers out of a bowl game in the first year of the Mike Riley Era.
Despite finishing below .500, Nebraska will make a postseason appearance, taking on UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 26 in the Santa Clara, Calif., home of the San Francisco 49ers.
The Huskers lost their season finale against Iowa to drop to 5-7 and seemingly miss the postseason, but when there weren't enough teams with .500 records or better to fill the whopping 80 bowl slots, a couple spots opened up for 5-7 teams. Which 5-7 teams made the grade was determined by ranking those teams based on APR, or Academic Progress Rate. The No. 1 team in APR among the 5-7 teams, Nebraska was tabbed — along with fellow Big Ten team Minnesota — to play in a bowl game.
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Unlike many of the other matchups featuring Big Ten schools, Nebraska and UCLA have played quite a bit in the past, and the Foster Farms Bowl will mark their 13th all-time meeting. All the previous games have come during the regular season, with the series tied at six wins each. Most recently, the teams played a home-and-home in 2012 and 2013.
The Bruins are 8-4 on the season, barely missing out on a chance to play for a Pac-12 championship, suffering four losses during conference play.
The Huskers struggled during non-conference play this season, losing games to BYU and Miami and narrowly pulling out a win against Southern Miss.
This will be the first-ever appearance in the Bay Area-based bowl game for Nebraska.
Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.
Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football.
"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.
"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.
"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline."
Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."
"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.
"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."
Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.
Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.
As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.
Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.
The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.