Big Ten

The Man in Madison: Badgers' Stave hopes senior year is record-setting


The Man in Madison: Badgers' Stave hopes senior year is record-setting

Freshman Joel Stave wasn't afraid to set lofty goals for senior Joel Stave.

"My freshman year I actually put a little sticky note that sits on something on my desk at home of just most wins, most passing yards and most touchdowns," Stave said. "Looking at it now, they’re all pretty much within reach."

For the first time in what seems like forever, the keys to the Badger buggie are Stave's. Previous years saw competitors like Tanner McEvoy trying to rip the starting job away from Stave, who has played meaningful snaps since his freshman year. But new coach Paul Chryst immediately tabbed Stave as the starter in the spring, giving the senior a sense of ease heading into the fall. 

"I’m really excited for camp this year. Just kind of knowing that you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder, you’re not seeing how someone else is doing on their drive or how this guy is throwing the ball or whatever. It’s about me doing everything I can to get the most out of every day."

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Junior running back Corey Clement has noticed the changes in his quarterback heading into 2015. Clement says play time is over for Stave as he's now a leader of the team.

"He’s the captain to this team," Clement said. "You got to look up to him regardless. Everybody is showing more respect towards him. He has a ton of experience under his belt so what more could you ask for out of a quarterback or him."

Bringing in new coaches can sometimes create a period of time where everyone is getting on the same page. Fortunately for the Badgers, Stave and Chryst, the two have a history together dating back to Chryst's last tenure in Madison, which has helped jumpstart all the offseason conversations they've had. 

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"We got down to some of the core topics pretty quick," Chryst said. "And I have appreciated the way that he's approached the whole transition. And Joel is -- he's played in a lot of football games and won a lot of games. And yet he's got that desire to continue to grow and -- he wants to be the best quarterback he can be. And he wants to be a leader on this team. All the things you want your players, your seniors, your senior quarterback to be."

Stave might not be the sexiest quarterback in the Big Ten or Wisconsin history but sometimes the record book doesn't care how you do it. The Badgers senior quarterback is in line to potentially become the winningest signal caller in school history. He's only nine wins away from tying Brooks Bollinger for most all-time quarterback wins at 30. His win percentage (.750) is currently third best, behind Scott Tolzein (.808) and John Stocco (.806), and he's seventh in school history in passing yards with 4,948 yards, while Darrell Bevell sits at the top with 7,686 yards. He also trails Bevell in total touchdown passes by 22. While some of these records may seem a little out of reach, getting there is all part of the plan for Stave.

"I would need to have a good season," Stave said. "Luckily I’m planning on having a good 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.