Big Ten

Northwestern, Stanford series apparently trimmed from six games to two

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Northwestern, Stanford series apparently trimmed from six games to two

What was originally a six-game series of future football games between Northwestern and Stanford is now just a home-and-home.

A Tuesday report from FBSchedules.com highlighted that Stanford's just-released 2015 media guide has just two games against Northwestern listed in its future schedules: this season's opener in Evanston and the 2019 season-opener in Palo Alto.

The two schools initially announced a four-game series back in 2011, with those games slated for the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons. That was followed in 2012 by the announcement of a home-and-home for the 2015 and 2016 campaigns, bringing the grand total to six games between the two programs.

[MORE BIG TEN: National Labor Relations Board ends Northwestern union effort]

But it appears the Big Ten's switch to a nine-game conference schedule, which goes into effect next season, has axed all but two of those games off the teams' future schedules. The Cats — and the other 13 Big Ten teams — now have just three slots in which to schedule non-conference games, as opposed to the four they've had for years.

The decrease in games between these two is unfortunate, as it provided an exciting non-conference matchup between two Power 5 conference programs. Northwestern has made it known of their intention to schedule non-conference games with schools that are academically similar, and certainly Stanford falls into that category. Duke, which is another academically similar institution to Northwestern, has a heavy presence on Northwestern's future schedules. The Cats visit the Blue Demons in September shortly after playing the Cardinal in Evanston.

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.