Big Ten

Report: Michigan DC D.J. Durkin a 'strong candidate' for Terps' head-coaching job

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Report: Michigan DC D.J. Durkin a 'strong candidate' for Terps' head-coaching job

Perhaps Maryland will be staying inside the Big Ten to make its head-coaching hire.

According to a Wednesday-morning report from Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde, Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin is a "strong candidate" for the Terps' vacant head-coaching position and has even interviewed for the job, but no job offer was made.

Durkin has spent his first season at Michigan running one of the best defenses in the country. The Wolverines rank second in the nation in total defense, allowing 263.1 yards per game, and sixth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 14.9 points per game. Michigan is the FBS' fourth-best team when it comes to stopping the pass, allowing 162.9 passing yards per game, and the fourth-best team when it comes to stopping the run, allowing 100.2 rushing yards per game. The Wolverines lead the Big Ten in all of those categories except scoring defense, where they rank third behind Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Maryland got an up close and personal look at the Michigan defense earlier this season, when the Wolverines shut out the Terps, 28-0. Maryland gained just 105 total yards in that game and threw three interceptions.

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Prior to leading a sensational defense this season in Ann Arbor, Durkin spent five seasons at Florida, the last two working as the Gators' defensive coordinator. He spent three seasons on Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford and served as an assistant at Bowling Green.

While Durkin is a credentialed assistant, his selection would seem to differ from some of the criteria set by athletics director Kevin Anderson and rumored to be set by Under Armour boss and Maryland football supporter Kevin Plank. Durkin is young, however he is a defensive guy and does not have an offensive background, which Anderson stressed. Plank has been rumored to want a big name for the open job, and Durkin would not fit that mold, either.

According to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, however, Maryland might be having trouble getting a big name to listen.

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.