Big Ten

Purdue scores 55 points to send Huskers to their sixth loss

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Purdue scores 55 points to send Huskers to their sixth loss

Nebraska has six losses, and we haven't even reached November. Purdue won a conference game and scored 55 points.

These are strange times in the Big Ten.

The first year of Mike Riley Era continued its spiral into despair Saturday, as the Huskers were run all over by the Boilermakers, dropping to 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten with a 55-45 loss in West Lafayette. It was the first home conference win of the Darrell Hazell Era and just the second Big Ten victory since Hazell took over ahead of the 2013 season.

Nebraska was playing without starting quarterback Tommy Armstrong, and the four interceptions tossed by Ryker Fyfe in his first career start were certainly a big part of the problem. But Purdue's offense had a big day, gaining 457 total yards en route to its highest-scoring game since the regular-season finale in 2012.

Boilermakers quarterback David Blough threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns, rushing for an additional 82 yards and a touchdown. Running back Markell Jones had 92 rushing yards and two touchdown totes.

[MORE BIG TEN: Corey Clement scores three TDs in return as Badgers blast Rutgers]

A Nebraska field goal opened the scoring in the first quarter, but Blough's 56-yard takeoff went for a go-ahead touchdown. Purdue recovered a fumble on a bad snap inside the Nebraska red zone, resulting in a touchdown pass from Blough to Danny Anthrop. Fyfe answered with a touchdown pass, but later in the second quarter, Anthony Brown picked off Fyfe to again set the Boilers up with a very short field. Domonique Young hit the end zone shortly thereafter to put Purdue up, 21-9. Brown added a second interception before halftime.

The Huskers opened the third quarter with a touchdown drive to cut the lead to five points, but the Boilers answered with a touchdown drive of their own, with Blough finding Jordan Jurasevich for a score. That was the first of three straight Purdue touchdowns. Blough completed a pass to DeAngelo Yancey that went for an 83-yard touchdown, and a third Brown interception set up another Blough-to-Yancey touchdown. By the end of the third quarter, the Boilers had a 42-16 lead.

The fourth quarter was offensive insanity, as the Huskers managed 29 points to the Boilers' 13. Fyfe threw three touchdown passes in the quarter, and Nebraska got a scoring run from Andy Janovich. Jones turned in both of his touchdown rushes in the quarter to help stave off a Husker comeback.

Fyfe managed to rack up a ton of stats thanks to that massive fourth quarter. He finished with 407 yards and four touchdown passes. But he also threw four interceptions.

It all ended with a 10-point victory for Purdue, something that doesn't come around too often. Hazell is now 6-26 overall and 2-18 in Big Ten games in two and a half seasons at the helm.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Purdue gear right here]

Meanwhile, Nebraska is a shambles after its latest loss. The first five of those losses all came by three points or fewer, making this one the worst of the season. But aside from just the scoring differential, it was a new low point for this program since it fired perennial nine-game winner Bo Pelini and hired Riley, who had limited success in his prior stop at Oregon State. This is the first time in program history the Huskers have lost six games before November. And a defeat to annual Big Ten bottom-feeder Purdue, even without Armstrong playing, is just something that's not supposed to happen to Nebraska.

It will be tough for Nebraska to reach bowl eligibility, as well. The Huskers would need to win all three of their remaining games, and two come against undefeated top-10 teams Michigan State and Iowa. If Nebraska misses a postseason berth, that will be the first time that's happened since Bill Callahan's final season in 2007.

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.