Big Ten

Spartans up to No. 9 as Big Ten has three in top 10 of latest AP poll


Spartans up to No. 9 as Big Ten has three in top 10 of latest AP poll

Thanks to a bevy of top-10 losses this weekend, the Big Ten placed three teams in the top 10 when the latest AP poll was released Sunday afternoon.

Ohio State remained the No. 2 team in the country, while Iowa moved up two spots from No. 8 to No. 6 and Michigan State moved up five spots from No. 14 to No. 9, giving the conference three teams in the top 10. Three other Big Ten teams were ranked: Michigan moved up one spot from No. 15 to No. 14, Northwestern moved up from No. 24 to No. 20 and Wisconsin moved up from No. 23 to No. 21.

Top-10 teams Utah, LSU, Stanford and Baylor all lost this weekend, allowing the Hawkeyes, Spartans and Wolverines to move up in the rankings. Utah, LSU and Stanford all fell out of the top 10, while Baylor dropped from No. 4 to No. 10.

Ohio State remained undefeated and moved to 10-0 with a 28-3 win over Illinois on Saturday. The Buckeyes have the two toughest tests of their regular-season schedule in the final two weeks against Michigan State and Michigan. A win over Michigan State — and a Michigan win over Penn State — would force a play-in game for the East Division title and a spot in the conference championship game between the Buckeyes and Wolverines in the annual rivalry game.

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Iowa also boasts a 10-0 record, staying perfect with a 40-35 win over rival Minnesota on Saturday, winning the Floyd of Rosedale. The Hawkeyes have two games remaining against Purdue and Nebraska, games in which Iowa will be heavily favored. A win in just one would clinch a spot in the Big Ten title game.

Michigan State, 9-1 after Saturday's 24-7 win over Maryland, still has a path to the East Division title and the Big Ten title game. If the Spartans beat the Buckeyes, all they'd need would be a win in the season-finale against Penn State to win the East, with the outcome of the Ohio State-Michigan game becoming meaningless, as Michigan State would hold the tiebreakers over both.

Michigan can also still win the East Division crown. The Wolverines improved to 8-2 with Saturday's double-overtime win over Indiana. If Ohio State beats Michigan State, Michigan can win the East by beating the Buckeyes, assuming of course that the Wolverines get a win over Penn State.

Northwestern, at 8-2 after beating Purdue on Saturday, can clinch the program's fourth-ever 10-win season with wins in the final two regular-season games against Wisconsin and Illinois.

Wisconsin, which was on bye this week, is also 8-2 with losses to two top-six teams in Alabama and Iowa. The Badgers can get to 10 wins with victories in the final two regular-season games against Northwestern and Minnesota.

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


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


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.