Big Ten

Illini's Josh Ferguson 'very, very doubtful' for game vs. Hawkeyes


Illini's Josh Ferguson 'very, very doubtful' for game vs. Hawkeyes

Josh Ferguson will likely miss this week’s game at Iowa.

The Illinois starting running back suffered a shoulder injury early in Saturday’s 14-13 win over Nebraska that knocked him out for the remainder of the contest.

Monday, head coach Bill Cubit said it was unlikely that Ferguson would be active for the game against the Hawkeyes.

“I doubt very much he’ll play,” Cubit said. “I think he’s very, very doubtful.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Collegiate Officiating Consortium admits screw-up in Illini win]

Cubit didn’t have an answer to how long Ferguson will be sidelined, awaiting results of further examination.

“He’s going to see a doctor this afternoon to see exactly (what the problem is),” Cubit said. “It’s a shoulder. So we’ll find out a little bit more. Probably not as encouraged right now.”

Ferguson leads the team with 397 rushing yards on 71 carries and has 12 catches for an additional 78 receiving yards.

His absence could be a big deal against an Iowa defense that held Wisconsin under 100 rushing yards in its 10-6 win on Saturday.

[MORE BIG TEN: Grown-up Illini defense shines in powering comeback win]

But freshman Ke’Shawn Vaughn has played well for the Illini and had a big day against Nebraska, carrying the ball 24 times for 98 yards and posting the highest single-game rushing total for an Illinois true freshman since 2011. No. 3 running back Henry Enyenihi also figures to take on an expanded role with Ferguson sidelined.

“Like I tell our guys, anybody that steps on the field, you’ve got to play like you’re the No. 1. Fortunately Ke’Shawn has been playing really well for us,” Cubit said. “I think it’s the next guy where it’s going to affect. We’ve got to get Henry really ready to go.

“You’ve got to have a plan. This week here, we were trying to put our best players out there, and we figured Ke’Shawn and Josh are two of our best. That thing went out the window after 10 plays. And so you’ve got to adjust.”

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


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


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.