Big Ten

Illini running back Josh Ferguson to miss third straight game


Illini running back Josh Ferguson to miss third straight game

Illinois will be without its starting running back for the third straight game Saturday.

The Illini announced Thursday night that Josh Ferguson is out for this weekend's matchup against Penn State.

Ferguson injured his shoulder during Illinois' win over Nebraska on Oct. 3. He sat out much of that game and has been in recovery mode ever since. That included a bye week.

Without Ferguson, the Illini's running game has been almost non-existent in losses to Iowa and Wisconsin, going for a combined 101 yards in those two games.

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“He’s a great player," quarterback Wes Lunt said of Ferguson after last weekend's loss to Wisconsin. "I think we miss him, not only in the run game, but he’s huge in the passing game out of the backfield. Those are things that we’re probably lacking (without) him just because he’s not out there. Just got to keep fighting. Next guy up, that’s the mentality of the team.”

Backup Ke'Shawn Vaughn had a good game against Nebraska, rushing 24 times for 98 yards. Against Iowa, Vaughn gained 67 yards on 19 carries, and against Wisconsin, he rushed 13 times for 55 yards. He scored a touchdown in each of those losses.

“We’re missing Josh," offensive lineman Teddy Karras said. "Ke’Shawn’s doing a great job, and he’s shown he can be a Big Ten back. But your senior captain running back is an important piece to any Big Ten offense. ... It’s just one of the things you have to deal with in a physical, run-oriented league. We’re definitely going to welcome him back with open arms.”

When Ferguson returns, though, remains unknown.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.