Big Ten

Northwestern's end-zone interception seals triple-overtime upset of Michigan State


Northwestern's end-zone interception seals triple-overtime upset of Michigan State

Northwestern sure is getting used to this overtime thing.

For the second straight game, the Wildcats needed more than 60 minutes to determine a winner, and for the second straight game, the Cats scored a win in extra time. This time, it was Northwestern taking down the 16th-ranked team in the country, Michigan State, in a 39-31 thriller in Evanston.

The Cats nearly won it in regulation, breaking a 10-all tie with a fourth-quarter, trick-play touchdown pass from Justin Jackson and holding a seven-point edge into the game's final minute. But Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke led the Spartans on a last-minute scoring drive, tying the game with a touchdown with 25 seconds left and forcing overtime.

Clayton Thorson pitched a touchdown pass in the first overtime, a feat matched by Lewerke. Lewerke put the Spartans in front in the second overtime, only for Jackson to tie the game with a scoring rush. Thorson tossed a 22-yard pass to Flynn Nagel on the third play of the third overtime and tacked on a two-point conversion to make it an eight-point game before Michigan State got its shot.

But on the Spartans' second play, Lewerke dropped the ball, picked it back up and heaved a throw to the end zone, where Nate Hall intercepted the pass and ended the game.

It was a thrilling finish to an uncharacteristically offense-heavy game for both teams. Northwestern finished with 432 total yards, Thorson passing for 356 of those. Lewerke racked up an astonishing 445 passing yards and threw four touchdown passes, the bulk of Michigan State's 540 total yards.

It was the Spartans' first loss in conference play and just their second loss on the season. The Cats moved to 5-3 and 3-2 in the Big Ten with their third straight win.

Northwestern will try to make it four straight when it travels to take on Nebraska.

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.