Big Ten

Northwestern's Fitzgerald finds lack of respect for Hawkeyes 'baffling'

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Northwestern's Fitzgerald finds lack of respect for Hawkeyes 'baffling'

While Iowa fights for respectability in the view of the national college football community — something a 10-0 record should have already achieved — it has a backer in the coach of the best team it’s beaten so far this season.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald voiced his support for Iowa on Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference, calling the lack of respect for the Hawkeyes “baffling.”

“We tip our hat with a ton of respect for the team in the (Big Ten West Division) lead, the University of Iowa,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve been very perplexed, nationally, some of the things that I’ve seen when I’ve been a fan just watching some things. They’re an outstanding football team and very well coached. Not to hear the respect that (they deserve) is baffling to me.”

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Fitzgerald’s Cats were whomped by the Hawkeyes, 40-10, last month in Evanston. The win over Northwestern is probably Iowa’s best win this season. That’s how it will remain till the end of the regular season, too, as unimpressive games against Purdue and Nebraska are all that stand in the way of a 12-0 record for Iowa.

While no one should argue that the Hawkeyes’ schedule has been among the nation’s strongest this season, it is worth noting that they have beaten a pair of ranked teams — No. 18 Northwestern and No. 25 Wisconsin — both on the road. Considering the number of undefeated Power 5 conference teams is down to four, finishing the season as an undefeated Big Ten champion should easily get the Hawkeyes into the College Football Playoff.

But if any stumping needs to be done, it seems Iowa can rely on a division rival in Fitzgerald.

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.