Big Ten

Northwestern two-for-two after throttling Eastern Illinois


Northwestern two-for-two after throttling Eastern Illinois

Another week, another team kept out of the end zone by the Northwestern defense.

Two games into the 2015 season, the Cats have yet to allow a touchdown, following up their big season-opening win over Stanford with a 41-0 throttling of FCS opponent Eastern Illinois on Saturday in Evanston.

Few were expecting the upset victory in Week 1, but this one could have been predicted, as Eastern — coming off a 33-5 loss to Western Illinois in its first game — doesn’t provide quite the test Stanford does.

But Northwestern was still impressive despite the big step down in competition. The Cats out-gained the Panthers, 496-138, rushing for a whopping 344 yards. The Cats scored at will, reaching the end zone four times and getting a fifth touchdown on an interception return.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini crush Western Illinois, two straight dominant wins under Cubit]

Northwestern got back on track offensively after scoring just one touchdown itself last week. The Cats’ huge day on the ground helped offset another light passing day in Clayton Thorson’s second career game. Justin Jackson led the way with 78 yards and a touchdown, and Warren Long had a big day as the No. 2 back, rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown. Two other ball carriers went over 50 yards, and three more went over 20. Thorson added his own rushing score.

Through the air, Thorson completed 11 of his 16 passing attempts for 152 yards and a touchdown.

But the defense was again the story. Anthony Walker led the team in tackles for the second straight week with seven, two of which were tackles for loss. The Cats got three sacks as a team. And Matt Harris had two interceptions, including the one returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Northwestern is rolling at 2-0, a pleasant turnaround from last season’s 0-2 start. Another tough challenge awaits next weekend, when the Cats visit the Duke Blue Devils in North Carolina.

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.