Big Ten

Northwestern loses cornerback Matt Harris for 'foreseeable future'

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Northwestern loses cornerback Matt Harris for 'foreseeable future'

While the news on Matt Harris’ injury is much better than it looked like it was going to be while Northwestern’s junior cornerback was lying face down in a silent Michigan Stadium, Harris will still be sidelined for what head coach Pat Fitzgerald called “the foreseeable future” on Monday.

Harris has multiple broken bones in his face after taking a knee to the helmet in Saturday's 38-0 loss to Michigan and won’t be returning to the field any time soon for the 20th-ranked Wildcats.

“Matt will be out for at least the foreseeable future,” Fitzgerald said. “So what that means, I’m not going to put a timetable on it. He’s got a couple of broken bones in his face. So we’ll probably evaluate where he’s at, and probably a good time to ask me would be after the bye week.”

The Cats host Iowa this weekend and travel to Nebraska before the team's bye week.

Harris leads the team and ranks second in the Big Ten with three interceptions. Only Iowa's Desmond King, with five, has more picks. Harris' 94 interception-return yards are tops in the conference.

Harris, a Lyons Township High School product, started five games as a freshman and all 12 last year as a sophomore. He started the first six games of this season, bringing his career total to 23. He ranks sixth on the team with 25 total tackles.

This is the third straight season in which Harris has suffered a scary-looking injury. Against Cal in 2013 and against Penn State in 2014, Harris suffered serious-looking injuries, but he’s bounced back both times.

Northwestern’s secondary — the “Sky Team” — has been among the country’s best this season, ranking seventh in the FBS in passing defense, allowing just 138.2 yards through the air each game. The loss of Harris is certainly a big blow to a foursome of Harris, Nick VanHoose, Traveon Henry and Godwin Igwebuike that has been lights out this season.

Harris was left off Monday’s depth chart, with Keith Watkins listed as a starter at corner alongside VanHoose.

Up against a potent Iowa offense in Saturday’s game, Harris will surely be missed.

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.