Big Ten

Illini turn it over three times, give up touchdown to offensive lineman in loss to Wisconsin

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Illini turn it over three times, give up touchdown to offensive lineman in loss to Wisconsin

Wisconsin is one of the best teams in the country. Illinois, to put it mildly, is not.

So Saturday's relatively easy win for the Badgers down in Champaign was not surprising in the least, the Illini doing very little on offense in a 24-10 defeat.

While Wisconsin had little trouble picking up its eighth win in as many games to stay undefeated on the season, it didn't pile up the style points it could've used ahead of next week's first batch of College Football Playoff rankings.

The Badgers did, though, come away with one highlight-reel play, tossing a touchdown pass to offensive lineman Michael Deiter in the game's final minutes.

Illinois, meanwhile, couldn't do much of anything on offense, once more constantly swapping quarterbacks, with Jeff George Jr. and freshman Cam Thomas both seeing plenty of action. Neither had much success, however, and they combined to go 9-for-31 passing the ball with a pair of interceptions.

The Illini did sneak a touchdown in with 49 seconds to play. The outcome was well determined by that point, but Kendrick Foster did get in for a score to make the final tally slightly more respectable. Still, the Illini finished with just 286 yards of total offense.

Illinois' defense was actually pretty good against one of the best teams in the land. Helping was the fact that star running back Jonathan Taylor departed the game with an injury. But the Illini held the Badgers to 303 total yards.

With the loss, the Illini dropped to 2-6 on the season and 0-5 in Big Ten play. They travel to play Purdue next weekend.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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 Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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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.