Big Ten

Jordan Canzeri, Hawkeyes beat Illini to improve to 6-0

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Jordan Canzeri, Hawkeyes beat Illini to improve to 6-0

A monstrous day for Jordan Canzeri sent the Hawkeyes to a perfect at 6-0.

Canzeri rushed for a crazy 256 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns Saturday to power Iowa to a 29-20 win over visiting Illinois in Iowa City.

The Illini defense, which has played well of late, continued to be significantly better than it has been the past two seasons. But it had no answer for Canzeri and an Iowa offense that’s been among the conference’s best.

The two teams traded early touchdowns, and the Illinois defense stood tall on a pair of first-half goal-line stands, forcing a turnover on downs on the first. That netted nothing, though, for the Illini offense, and the Hawkeyes went on a touchdown drive the next time it had the ball, scoring on C.J. Beathard’s screen-pass to Canzeri. The second goal-to-go stop forced a field goal, and the Illini headed to the break trailing, 16-7.

Illinois’ offense looked like a completely different unit after halftime, though, twice driving into the red zone, though both of those drives resulted in field goals rather than touchdowns, keeping the Illini behind on the scoreboard.

To show how important those missed opportunities were, Iowa answered the second field goal with a 75-yard Canzeri touchdown run on the opening play of the next drive, turning a three-point game into a 10-point game.

Illinois’ offense made what could have been a critical mistake on the opening play of the fourth quarter, as on third-and-one, the Illini ran a double-reverse pass on which Geronimo Allison was intercepted. Iowa didn’t do anything with that, though, and Illinois made it a three-point game once again when Wes Lunt hit Allison for a 53-yard touchdown.

The Illini defense bent but didn’t break, stalling the Hawkeyes in the red zone and forcing them to kick a field goal and keep it a one-possession game. But as soon as Illinois got the ball back, running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn fumbled and turned the ball over, setting up another Iowa field goal that made it a nine-point game.

Canzeri was the offensive star for Iowa. He toted the ball 43 times for his 256 rushing yards, the majority of a 271-yard rushing day for the Hawkeyes. He had one touchdown rush and one touchdown catch. Beathard also had a strong afternoon, throwing for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns while rushing for an additional 29 yards.

Lunt had a big day for the Illini, throwing for 317 yards and a touchdown. The Hawkeyes held the Illini to a jaw-dropping 46 rushing yards on 24 rushing attempts on the day.

Iowa out-gained Illinois by more than 100 yards, 478-363.

The Hawkeyes improved to a perfect 6-0 with the win and are looking more and more like the team to beat in the Big Ten West each week. The Illini, meanwhile, dropped to 4-2 with the loss and sit at 1-1 in conference play.

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

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USA TODAY

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.