Big Ten

Jake Rudock, Michigan rout Florida in Citrus Bowl runaway


Jake Rudock, Michigan rout Florida in Citrus Bowl runaway

After getting pounded by Ohio State in the regular-season finale, Michigan ridded itself of that bad taste by delivering its own pounding on New Year's Day.

The Wolverines crushed the Florida Gators in a runaway, 41-7 win in Friday's Citrus Bowl, capping Jim Harbaugh's first season in Ann Arbor with the program's first bowl win since the 2011 season.

Jake Rudock was fantastic, finishing off his collegiate career with a Tom Brady impression — 278 yards and three touchdowns — to move over 3,000 passing yards on the year.

While Michigan's stifling defensive performance was no surprise, one of the best defenses in America going up a Florida offense that failed to score much as the season wound down, the sensational performance of Rudock and the Michigan offense was unexpected going up against a Florida team that also boasted one of the country's best defenses this season.

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Florida’s offensive ineptitude was on display early. Gators quarterback Treon Harris threw an interception on the game’s opening drive after leading his team to the red zone. Michigan made him pay immediately, too, turning the pick into a nine-play, 73-yard touchdown drive. De’Veon Smith had a big 24-yard rush on the drive before Drake Johnson finished it off with a score from four yards out.

Harris responded by leading a long touchdown drive of his own. He completed passes for gains of 15, 27 and 20 yards on the drive before finding Antonio Callaway for a two-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7.

In the second quarter, Rudock hooked up with Jehu Chesson for a pair of long gainers, one for 24 yards and another for 31 yards, the second resulting in a go-ahead touchdown to make it a 14-7 game.

The Gators marched all the way to the 15-yard line on the ensuing drive, but Harris threw a ridiculous interception, heaving a pass to the end zone that was hauled in by Jarrod Wilson for the turnover.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Michigan gear right here]

And that would be all for Florida on the day offensively. The talented Michigan defense clamped down on Harris while the talented Florida defense was carved up by Rudock. After Michigan kicked a field goal before halftime, the Wolverines scored touchdowns on three straight drives to open the second half. Rudock threw a touchdown pass to Grant Perry, set up a Sione Houma touchdown run with a 45-yard bomb to Chesson and found Johnson for an eight-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Michigan tacked on a field goal later in the fourth to make it a 41-7 blowout.

The Wolverines finished with 503 yards of total offense and scored more points than any other Florida opponent this season. Michigan limited the Florida offense to just 273 total yards.

Smith went for 109 rushing yards on the day, and Chesson caught five passes for 118 yards.

Harbaugh wrapped his first season as the Michigan head football coach with a 10-3 record, just the second year with double-digit wins at Michigan since Lloyd Carr left after the 2007 season.

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.