Big Ten

Joel Stave goes through concussion protocol, cleared to practice


Joel Stave goes through concussion protocol, cleared to practice

Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave was knocked out with a head injury during the Badgers’ win at Illinois last weekend. And though Stave was cleared to return to the game by team doctors — and did momentarily get back in there — head coach Paul Chryst didn’t think he looked right, and Stave sat out the rest of the contest.

But Stave is good to go now, per Chryst, who said on Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference that Stave went through the concussion protocol and was cleared to practice.

“Feel good about Joel,” Chryst said. “He’s gone through all the concussion protocol, and so he’ll be able to practice this week.”

Unless something else pops up during the week, it would seem a safe bet that Stave will be starting at quarterback for Wisconsin in Saturday’s game against Rutgers.

That might not be the news that everyone wanted to hear, necessarily, as fans have been less than pleased with Stave’s performance for much of the season.

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Backup quarterback Bart Houston relieved the injured Stave against Illinois and had a big afternoon, completing 22 of his 33 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns, while also throwing a pair of interceptions.

Stave ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 1,757 passing yards. He’s completed 61.7 percent of his passes and has eight touchdown passes compared to five interceptions.

Chryst left no doubt that Stave, if healthy, will be the guy at quarterback come Saturday.

“Joel’s our starting quarterback, and he’s been doing some real good things for this team,” Chryst said. “I’m proud of and appreciative of how Bart stepped in and what he did and how he contributed in a big way to getting a good win for us. You feel good that Bart was able to come in and execute and do some things. And I feel good — as does our team — with where Joel is and what he means to this team.”

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.