Big Ten

A slow start, but Badgers' defense powers win over Purdue

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A slow start, but Badgers' defense powers win over Purdue

After its last two games were decided by a grand total of six points, Wisconsin finally got to breath Saturday against Purdue.

The Badgers didn't make it too easy early on, but a dominant defense held the Boilers to just seven points in a 24-7 win at Camp Randall Stadium.

Wisconsin dominated the first half, out-gaining Purdue, 272-61. But that certainly didn't tell the story. After an early touchdown put the Badgers on top, 7-0, a Joel Stave interception was returned 66 yards by Leroy Clark, and that set up a two-yard touchdown run by David Blough to tie the game. The Badgers answered with a go-ahead field goal, but Rafael Gaglianone missed an attempt right before halftime, meaning Wisconsin went to the break ahead just 10-7.

Other than those seven points off the interception — that gave Purdue a very short field — the Badgers' defense hardly allowed a thing. The Boilers didn't score again, and they finished with just 191 total yards on the day.

Meanwhile, running backs Dare Ogunbowale and Alec Ingold each scored a touchdown in the second half (Ingold also had the team's first score) to extend the Wisconsin lead to 24-7.

Stave, apart from the interception, finished with a solid day. He completed 30 of his 39 passing attempts for 322 yards. The Badgers rushed for a total of just 56 yards without its two top backs, Corey Clement and Taiwan Deal.

But the Badger defense was terrific, keeping the Boilers to just 56 rushing yards and limited Blough to just 15 completions.

Wisconsin improved to 5-2 with the win and with a 2-1 conference record stayed just a game back of undefeated Iowa in the Big Ten West race.

Purdue dropped to 1-6 on the season with the loss.

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.