Big Ten

Report: Rutgers looking at Buckeyes DC Chris Ash for head-coaching gig

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Report: Rutgers looking at Buckeyes DC Chris Ash for head-coaching gig

Could Rutgers stay inside the Big Ten to make its head-coaching hire?

According to a Wednesday report from Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, the Scarlet Knights are looking at Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash as an option to fill the vacant job.

Ash has spent the past two seasons running the Buckeyes' defense after serving as an assistant under Bret Bielema for four seasons at both Wisconsin and Arkansas, the final three spent as defensive coordinator for the Badgers and Razorbacks.

This season, Ash's defense has been one of the country's best. Ohio State ranks second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an averaging of 14 points per game, and 10th in total defense, allowing an average of 303.5 yards per game.

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The Buckeyes have been particularly stingy against opposing passing attacks, ranking 12th in the country in passing defense, allowing an average of 176.2 pass yards per game.

Ash would bring a winning pedigree — he coached under Urban Meyer during last season's national-championship run, and the Buckeyes could potentially make it back to the College Football Playoff this season — and a familiarity with the Big Ten having spent five of the past six seasons in the conference and the last two in the Big Ten East, Rutgers' division.

Ash's Ohio State defense held Rutgers to fewer than 300 yards and just seven points in a 49-7 Buckeyes win earlier this season.

According to Feldman, Ash is also in the running for the vacant head-coaching position at Syracuse, so Rutgers could have some competition for his services.

The Knights have a head-coaching vacancy after Kyle Flood was fired Sunday. Rutgers also fired athletics director Julie Hermann on Sunday and named Patrick Hobbs as her replacement. Hobbs is running the search for a new head coach.

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.