Big Ten

Missed field goal in OT sends Hoosiers to loss in Pinstripe Bowl


Missed field goal in OT sends Hoosiers to loss in Pinstripe Bowl

Indiana fans haven't seen a postseason victory since 1991. And they'll have to keep waiting after a wild finish to a wild game in Saturday's Pinstripe Bowl.

The Hoosiers took a 41-34 lead with four minutes to play but allowed a last-minute touchdown that forced overtime, then missed a potential game-tying field goal in overtime, dropping the annual game at Yankee Stadium to Duke, 44-41.

Big Ten Kicker of the Year Griffin Oakes came up empty twice in the closing moments Saturday, missing a long 56-yard field-goal try that would've given Indiana a win in regulation and then watching a 38-yard attempt sail directly over the upright, with the officials ruling it a miss, ending the game.

It was a game that matched the style of many others played by the Hoosiers this season. Indiana gained 667 yards of offense and allowed 536 to Duke, the two teams combining for 85 points.

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But it wasn't instant offense for the Hoosiers, who were shutout in the first quarter for just the second time this season. A first-quarter interception thrown by Nate Sudfeld — the Indiana quarterback who threw just five picks during the 12-game regular season — was immediately followed by an 85-yard touchdown run from Duke's Shaun Wilson, the longest rush in program history.

Sudfeld threw another interception in the early stages of the second quarter, but the Indiana offense righted itself after that, going on a 78-yard touchdown drive capped by a 25-yard scoring pass from Sudfeld to Luke Timian. After a Duke fake punt was foiled by Indiana defensive back Ben Bach, the Hoosiers went back down the field and took the lead on a 17-yard touchdown run by Devine Redding. The Indiana defense continued to display its typical habit of allowing big plays and surrendered a 73-yard touchdown run to Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk. The score was knotted at 17 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Indiana got a touchdown on a pass from Sudfeld to Nick Westbrook not long after a 39-yard gain by Redding on a fake reverse. After the Hoosiers defense forced a three and out for the first time on the day, Mitchell Paige fumbled a punt return, leading to a Duke touchdown. Indiana running back Alex Rodriguez fittingly scored a touchdown at Yankee Stadium, giving the Hoosiers a 31-27 lead.

Indiana settled for a fourth-quarter field goal after Simmie Cobbs dropped a pass in the end zone. That was immediately followed by Wilson's 98-yard kick-return touchdown to tie the game at 34. After finding Ricky Jones for a 50-yard gain, Sudfeld hit a wide-open Paige in the end zone for a go-ahead score to make it 41-34. Duke followed that up with a 78-yard touchdown drive capped with a short scoring tote by Sirk.

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After reaching the edge of field-goal range in the game's final seconds — Oakes entered with a career-long kick of 58 yards — a poor hold meant Oakes' 56-yard try as time ran out on regulation was a miss. After Duke kicked a field goal to take a lead in overtime, Oakes again missed, though it was mighty close, with the height of the kick perhaps working against Oakes. Replay showed that the ball passed directly over the top of the upright, though it was an extremely close kick. Oakes pleaded with officials following the ruling on the field, though Duke was given the win.

In his final game at Indiana, Sudfeld completed 28 of his 51 passing attempts for 389 yards and three touchdowns, also throwing a pair of interceptions. Redding had a monster day, setting a new Indiana bowl record with 227 yards on 35 carries. Cobbs caught six passes for 121 yards.

Duke had three rushers go over 100 yards. Sirk finished with 155 yards, Jela Duncan had 109 yards and Wilson had 103 yards.

It was Indiana's first appearance in a bowl game since 2007 and just the program's second postseason trip since 1993. With the loss, the Hoosiers finished the season with a 6-7 record.

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.