Big Ten

Monster day for Northwestern offense in blowout win over Purdue

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Monster day for Northwestern offense in blowout win over Purdue

The road has been kind to Northwestern this season, and the Wildcats' offense in particular has thrived away from Evanston.

That was most definitely the case Saturday, as Northwestern marched into West Lafayette and put up eye-popping numbers in a blowout 45-17 win over Purdue.

The Cats piled up 605 total yards of offense, with Clayton Thorson passing for a career-high 352 yards and Justin Jackson and John Moten combining to rush for 246 yards. It was Northwestern's second highest-scoring game of the season, and the Cats now boast a 3-1 record away from Ryan Field with impressive performances in all four games: wins over Iowa, Michigan State and Purdue and a loss to Ohio State.

The Cats also came to play on defense, intercepting four passes by Boilermaker quarterbacks.

Northwestern actually went down in an early 10-0 hole, Thorson throwing an interception that Purdue turned into a touchdown after it kicked a field goal on its opening possession.

But then things turned around in a hurry. Montre Hartage intercepted David Blough, and four plays later Thorson hit Austin Carr for a touchdown. Two possessions later, Thorson found Carr from 33 yards out for a go-ahead touchdown, and the Cats led the rest of the way, really blowing things open in the second half.

Jackson finished off a 71-yard touchdown drive on the first possession of the third quarter, and Thorson hit Garrett Dickerson for a 42-yard touchdown one play after Anthony Walker Jr. intercepted Blough to make it a 28-10 score.

Blough threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Bilal Marshall as a strong answer, but Thorson led the team right down the field on the ensuing drive, hitting Flynn Nagel twice for a total of 30 yards before a 37-yard bomb to Carr put the Cats on the doorstep. Thorson finished off that drive with a two-yard touchdown rush.

Jackson scored from 10 yards out to polish off a 91-yard drive and score the game's final touchdown. But the Cats had two more interceptions in them, Hartage picking off Blough and Trent Goens intercepting Elijah Sindelar to add some more highlights to the game's final minutes.

Northwestern tore apart the Purdue defense, piling up 352 yards throwing the ball and 253 yards rushing the ball. The Boilermakers managed 394 total yards, but give the Cats' defense credit for holding the Boilers to just 17 points, their lowest output in their last three games and second lowest in their last six games.

The win boosted Northwestern to 5-5 on the season and 4-3 in conference play. The Cats finish up the regular season with games against Minnesota and Illinois.

Purdue dropped to 3-7 overall and 1-6 in conference play with the loss. The Boilers end the season with games against Wisconsin and Indiana.

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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USA TODAY

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.