Big Ten

Undefeated Hawkeyes up to No. 12 in AP poll

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Undefeated Hawkeyes up to No. 12 in AP poll

At 7-0 for the first time since 2009 and for just the second time in the lengthy Kirk Ferentz Era, the Hawkeyes continued their rise up the rankings.

Iowa jumped up to No. 12 in the latest AP poll, which was released Sunday. Ohio State stayed atop the rankings as the country's No. 1 team. Michigan State remained at No. 7 following Saturday's incredible win over Michigan, which dropped to No. 15 — in a tie with Texas A&M — on Sunday.

Iowa stayed perfect thanks to a 40-10 blowout of former No. 20 Northwestern on Saturday in Evanston. No. 3 running back Akrum Wadley subbed in for the injured Jordan Canzeri and rushed 26 times for 204 yards and four touchdowns, matching a school record. And the outlook is good for the Hawkeyes, who don't have too many steep challenges left on their conference schedule after dealing with Wisconsin and Northwestern on the road. Maryland, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and Nebraska make up the remaining Big Ten slate for Iowa.

Ohio State always won in a blowout Saturday, defeating Penn State, 38-10. J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott combined for 255 rush yards against the normally stingy Nittany Lions defense. The Buckeyes have now won 20 games in a row.

Michigan State would've likely been bumped from the top 10 if not for a wild finish to Saturday's game, where down two with 10 seconds left, the Spartans picked up a fumbled snap on a punt and returned it 38 yards for a game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. The improbable 27-23 victory allowed Michigan State to keep its No. 7 ranking.

Michigan, meanwhile, was on the losing end of that crazy ending. Still smarting from the loss, the Wolverines dropped three spots in the AP poll.

Northwestern tumbled out of the top 25 with its second straight blowout loss.

Wisconsin and Northwestern also received votes in this week's poll.

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.