Big Ten

Spartans finally get their blowout win thanks to huge fourth quarter vs. Hoosiers


Spartans finally get their blowout win thanks to huge fourth quarter vs. Hoosiers

Michigan State has an undefeated record and a top-10 ranking, but their status as a College Football Playoff contender has taken a bit of a hit of late, as the Spartans haven't exactly scored any style points with narrow wins over Purdue, Rutgers and Michigan in recent weeks.

Well, Saturday, Mark Dantonio's team finally got the blowout win that's evaded it since the start of Big Ten play, dumping 24 fourth-quarter points on Indiana to grab a 52-26 win.

Connor Cook had a monster afternoon, completing 30 passes for 398 yards and four touchdowns as the Spartans racked up 540 total yards against a typically woeful Hoosier defense.

It was a back-and-forth game for three quarters, with only a pair of missed extra points by Indiana kicker Griffin Oakes allowing Michigan State to hold a 28-26 lead with just one quarter to play. Cook threw touchdown passes to R.J. Shelton, Aaron Burbridge and Josiah Price, while Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw a trio of touchdown passes and running back Jordan Howard had a touchdown run in his first game back after an injury-induced layoff.

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But after Oakes missed a potential go-ahead field goal late in the third quarter and Michael Geiger hit a field goal early in the fourth, the flood gates opened late for the Spartans. In the game's final five minutes, Cook hit Shelton for a second scoring hook-up between the two, and LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes each added a touchdown rush to turn things into an absolute blowout.

It ended up being a fine offensive day for the Hoosiers, too, with Sudfeld throwing for 308 yards and three touchdowns. But, as has too often been the case, a good offensive day for Indiana was overshadowed by a poor defensive one. The Hoosiers have lost all four conference games they've played, a four-game losing streak after starting the season 4-0.

Michigan State, meanwhile, improved to 8-0 with the victory and remain in prime position for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Perhaps a 26-point win over Indiana isn't a big resume-booster. But the knock on the Spartans has been their inability to forcefully dispatch of inferior opponents. And while this game was as close as two points in the fourth quarter, the final result ought to meet the blowout criteria many observers have been looking for.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.