Big Ten

Reports: Nebraska to make former Notre Dame assistant Bob Diaco new defensive coordinator

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USA TODAY

Reports: Nebraska to make former Notre Dame assistant Bob Diaco new defensive coordinator

Nebraska reportedly has its new defensive coordinator.

Bob Diaco, who was most recently the head coach at Connecticut and prior to that was the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, will be the new man in charge of the Huskers' defense, per multiple reports Friday night.

Nebraska is in need of a new defensive coordinator after Mike Riley surprisingly announced earlier this week that Mark Banker wouldn't return to the Huskers for the 2017 season. Banker worked as Riley's defensive coordinator for a total of 17 seasons at three different stops: the San Diego Chargers, Oregon State and Nebraska.

Diaco's last effort as a defensive coordinator was a mighty impressive one. He helmed that side of the ball for the Fighting Irish for four seasons, including when they went 12-0 and reached the national championship game in the 2012 season. Two seasons later, he took over as the head coach at Connecticut and led the Huskies for the past three seasons prior to his dismissal last month. In those three campaigns, Diaco posted an 11-26 record, reaching just one bowl game.

The Nebraska defense could use some fire. The Huskers ranked in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten this past season, sixth in the conference in total defense (allowing an average of 363.7 yards a game) and seventh in the conference in scoring defense (allowing an average of 23.9 points per game). The Huskers were better at defending the run than defending the pass, ranking sixth against the run and 10th against the pass.

It's a return to the Big Ten for Diaco, who played for Hayden Fry at Iowa and was a grad assistant under Fry for two seasons in the 1990s.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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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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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.