It could be a tricky week in the Northwestern passing game, as the Wildcats' offensive line and wide-receiving corps are banged up heading into a Week 2 matchup with Eastern Illinois.
Starting offensive linemen Brad North, Eric Olson and Ian Park are all various degrees of injured, with No. 1 right tackle Olson out, No. 1 center North listed as questionable and No. 1 left guard Park listed as probable.
Similarly, the receivers are dealing with their own injuries. Cameron Dickerson is listed as out for the second straight week. Miles Shuler, who caught two passes for 33 yards in Week 1, is listed as questionable.
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Additionally, safety Jared McGee is out for this week's game.
While we don't know exactly how many of those guys will play, the further injury-related losses to the offense is less than ideal for first-year starting quarterback Clayton Thorson. Thorson rattled off a 42-yard touchdown run to highlight his debut, but he failed to impress much throwing the ball, completing 12 of his 24 passing attempts for 105 yards. While he had some good throws — a second-half, third-down throw to Shuler stood out — he also had a few that were evidence of his inexperience, throws that perhaps should've been intercepted.
Losses on the offensive line and in the wide-receiving corps can't help Thorson's development. Thankfully for Thorson and the Cats, Eastern Illinois is an FCS opponent which lost its season-opening game, 33-5, to Western Illinois.
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.