Big Ten

J.T. Barrett gets starting nod at QB for Buckeyes over Cardale Jones

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J.T. Barrett gets starting nod at QB for Buckeyes over Cardale Jones

The calls of many have been answered.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer announced Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches teleconference that J.T. Barrett will be the Buckeyes' starting quarterback for Saturday's game against Rutgers.

Barrett supplants Cardale Jones, who started Ohio State's first seven games — all wins.

"J.T.'s earned the right to start Saturday at Rutgers," Meyer said.

Meyer has insisted that the position battle between the two quarterbacks has been a season-long thing, and he's said that Barrett hasn't beaten Jones out for the job. That is until now.

"Sheer production," he said when asked the reason. "Cardale's going to be in a very active part, too. Red-zone production, third-down production made the difference. It was a very difficult decision."

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Jones won the starting gig for the season-opener against Virginia Tech after he led the Buckeyes to three postseason wins last winter en route to a national championship. Many fans and observers disagreed with Meyer's decision then, arguing that Barrett was better for longer last season, when he was one of the best quarterbacks in college football before he was knocked out for the year in the regular-season finale.

Jones has played fine in most games but hasn't wowed like he did in those three postseason wins. This season, he's completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 1,242 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

But Barrett has gained increased playing time of late, used primarily as Ohio State's red-zone quarterback. In the last two weeks, he's accounted for seven total touchdowns, including a four-touchdown performance this past weekend in the win over Penn State, in which he rushed for 102 yards. He attempted just four passes in that game, though he completed all four and two went for touchdowns.

Meyer has used both quarterbacks in almost every game this season, and though he's earned a lot of criticism for refusing to stick with one guy for an entire game, the Buckeyes' offense has been mighty productive, with at least 34 points in all but one game, including each of the last four. But as Barrett has come on the last two weeks, the margins of victory have been getting more impressive.

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

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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.