Big Ten

Surgery knocks Illini quarterback Chayce Crouch out for the rest of the season

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Surgery knocks Illini quarterback Chayce Crouch out for the rest of the season

While Wes Lunt’s status is still a mystery moving forward for the Illini, we won’t see Chayce Crouch under center again in 2016.

Crouch, head coach Lovie Smith informed reporters after this past weekend’s game against Minnesota, had season-ending surgery, and he will miss the remainder of the 2016 campaign.

The quarterback position has been in constant flux for Illinois after Lunt was injured in the Oct. 8 loss to Purdue. Crouch relieved Lunt in that game and then started in the win over Rutgers a week later. But to the surprise of many, it was third-stringer Jeff George Jr. who started the last two games against Michigan and Minnesota, with neither Lunt nor Crouch seeing the field in either contest.

Crouch performed admirably since Lunt’s injury. He completed 10 of 14 passes for 142 yards and rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns against Purdue. Against Rutgers, he completed six of 14 passes for 92 yards with a touchdown and an interception and rushed for 25 yards.

George hasn’t fared nearly as well, though certainly his competition has been much tougher. He was 4-for-15 for 95 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the elite Michigan defense, and he was 16-for-34 for 156 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota.

Lunt’s status has been kept under wraps by Smith, though the senior starter was dressed for Saturday’s game, perhaps implying that he could have played in an emergency situation. Smith continued to reveal only that Lunt is continuing to get better.

Crouch has already started rehabbing, per Smith, and could be the favorite for the starting gig next season.

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.