Big Ten

Thirty straight points lift Huskers past UCLA in Foster Farms Bowl

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Thirty straight points lift Huskers past UCLA in Foster Farms Bowl

Many lamented Nebraska's berth in the Foster Farms Bowl after the Huskers finished the regular season with a 5-7 record.

But Nebraska proved its worth Saturday, scoring 30 straight points to not only erase an early two-touchdown deficit but also take a double-digit lead on UCLA, eventually winning by a score of 37-29.

The Huskers found themselves in a quick hole. After each team scored a touchdown on its opening drive, UCLA took advantage of a red-zone fumble by Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong, scoring off the turnover on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen. Rosen threw a 26-yard touchdown pass on UCLA's next possession to make it a 21-7 game.

But the Huskers responded, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the final six and a half minutes of the second quarter. A 28-yard pass play from Armstrong to Jordan Westerkamp was combined with a late hit for a 43-yard pickup, and Terrell Newby was into the end zone shortly thereafter. The next time the Huskers had the ball, they went 73 yards in eight plays on a drive featuring a 24-yard gain by Cethan Carter, a 26-yard run by Armstrong and a one-yard scoring rush by full back Andy Janovich. That last one tied the game at 21 before the half.

Though Nebraska scored just nine points in the third quarter — the highlight a phenomenal one-handed touchdown reception by Stanley Morgan on the Huskers' first drive — the defense dominated UCLA. The Huskers out-gained the Bruins, 196-1, in the third quarter, simply a jaw-dropping statistic, and headed to the final period with a 30-21 lead.

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Armstrong hit paydirt from three yards out to make it 37-21 at the outset of the fourth quarter, but UCLA wasn't dead yet. That score was answered by another Rosen touchdown pass and a successful two-point conversion, narrowing things to a one-score game at 37-29. But again the Nebraska defense stood tall. Groza Award winner Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a field goal for UCLA, and Rosen's final heave toward the end zone on a fourth-down pass play was intercepted.

Nebraska gained 500 yards of offense on the night, holding UCLA to just 386. The Huskers relied heavily on their run game, rushing 62 times for 326 yards as Armstrong attempted just 19 passes.

Armstrong finished with 174 passing yards and 76 rushing yards and a touchdown via the air and the ground. Three different Huskers had at least 60 rushing yards. Devine Ozigbo led the team with 80 yards on 20 carries, and Imani Cross had 62 yards.

Mike Riley finished his first season as Nebraska head coach with a bowl win, bringing the Huskers' record to 6-7 on the year. It was just the program's second bowl win in its last six appearances.

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.