Big Ten

Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi rips Penn State for some reason

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Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi rips Penn State for some reason

Pat Narduzzi is doing good work in his first season as Pitt's head coach. The former Michigan State defensive coordinator has the Panthers at 5-1 and ranked No. 25 in the latest AP poll.

And Monday, he decided to just blast Penn State for no reason.

The in-state rivals haven't met on the football field since 2000, but they will next season. And it looks like Narduzzi's getting a head start on his smack talk, subtly but not so subtly ripping Penn State for the fact that Christian Hackenberg hasn't lived up to the hype this season.

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten Power Rankings: One play changes everything]

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Sam Werner:

When asked whether Pitt quarterback Nate Peterman's accuracy this season has been a product of his play or the staff's play calling, Narduzzi said it was a combination of both, and added a little twist at the end.

“You could have a talented quarterback with a bad play caller and make him look bad," Narduzzi said. "You see that around the country, some closer than others.”

It's not a stretch to say that Narduzzi was probably referring to the Nittany Lions coach James Franklin, offensive coordinator and playcaller John Donovan and quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who has struggled this season despite being projected as one of the top quarterbacks available in next year's NFL Draft.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Penn State gear right here]

Whoa, Narduzzi, what gives?

This isn't to say that he's wrong, of course. Hackenberg hasn't had many good games and ranks 11th in the Big Ten in passing yardage (1,206 yards) and has been sacked an incredible 24 times (not necessarily his fault). Narduzzi seems to be fine with Hackenberg and his talent level but is blaming the results on the coaching staff. Ouch.

The Penn State-Pitt rivalry is back, folks!

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.