Big Ten

Northwestern No. 23, Spartans up to No. 4 in AP poll

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Northwestern No. 23, Spartans up to No. 4 in AP poll

For the first time since midway through the 2013 season, Northwestern is a top-25 team.

The Cats were ranked at No. 23 when the latest AP poll was released Sunday afternoon. Pat Fitzgerald's team improved to 2-0 with a 41-0 clobbering of Eastern Illinois on Saturday, a follow up to the big win over Stanford in Week 1. Northwestern has yet to allow a touchdown through eight quarters this season.

Northwestern was one of four Big Ten teams ranked in the top 25, joined by Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Michigan State moved up to No. 4, rising a spot after defeating fellow top-10 team Oregon, 31-28, on Saturday night in East Lansing. The Ducks slipped to No. 12 after their loss.

[MORE BIG TEN: It's only Week 2, but Spartans look to be on playoff track]

Ohio State remained at No. 1 for the third straight week. The defending champs shut out Hawaii on Saturday, 38-0.

Wisconsin was ranked No. 20 to start the season but fell out of the top 25 after a season-opening loss to Alabama. But after destroying Miami (Ohio) by a score of 58-0, the Badgers are back in the rankings at No. 24.

Minnesota and Iowa also received votes in this week's poll.

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.