Big Ten

Week 3 Big Ten previews: Buckeyes-Sooners, Spartans-Irish, Huskers-Ducks ... oh my!

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Week 3 Big Ten previews: Buckeyes-Sooners, Spartans-Irish, Huskers-Ducks ... oh my!

After a less-than-thrilling Week 2, Week 3 is a blockbuster in the Big Ten.

Ohio State travels to play Oklahoma, Michigan State visits Notre Dame, Nebraska plays host to Oregon, and Michigan welcomes in Colorado for an appetizing slate of Power Five-vs.-Power Five action (the same can be said for the less headline-worthy but still big Northwestern-Duke matchup).

So here’s a rundown of all this week’s action in the conference. All games will be played on Saturday, Sept. 17, and as always, all times are Central.

New Mexico at Rutgers, 11 a.m., ESPNEWS

The Knights are coming off the first win of the Chris Ash Era, showing some explosiveness with 52 unanswered point in a win over FCS opponent Howard. Janarion Grant is obviously the real deal when it comes to big plays — he had three total touchdowns last week — and much like every week we’ll be watching to see what else he can do.

Temple at Penn State, 11 a.m., Big Ten Network

A rematch of a game Penn State lost last year, the Nittany Lions are now in big need of a victory after last week’s 42-39 defeat at the hands of another in-state rival in Pitt. Penn State’s defense was shredded on the ground in that game. Temple beat Stony Brook, 38-0, last week but still mustered just 300 yards of offense.

North Dakota State at No. 13 Iowa, 11 a.m., ESPN 2

Any uninformed look at this game would result in "top-15 team vs. an FCS foe equals blowout win" for the Hawkeyes. But the Bison are the five-time defending FCS national champs, and saying they’re no pushover would be putting it mildly. North Dakota State has an 8-3 record all-time (since 2006) against FBS schools, including five straight wins.

Georgia State at No. 9 Wisconsin, 11 a.m., Big Ten Network

The Badgers continue their small respite between the opener against LSU and a brutal start to Big Ten play. Last week Wisconsin scored some style points with a blowout win over Akron, and this week provides a similar opportunity. A win here and the Badgers are all but assured to go into conference play as a top-10 team.

Colorado at No. 4 Michigan, 2:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Jim Harbaugh isn’t laughing at Colorado’s parody depth chart, and the Buffaloes shouldn’t be laughing at the real thing. Michigan has mopped the floor with its two season-opening opponents, Hawaii and Central Florida. The Wolverines will face a step up in competition, as the Buffs have already accumulated 100 points and almost 1,200 yards of offense in two weeks.

No. 22 Oregon at Nebraska, 2:30 p.m., ABC

The Ducks maybe aren’t what they used to be, but they can still fly high, dropping 97 points in their first two games. But that defense has also allowed 54 points through two weeks — and that was to UC-Davis and Virginia. It provides quite the opportunity for a Nebraska team that has plenty of offensive firepower of its own. Plus the Huskers’ defense is tied for the national lead with seven interceptions.

Western Michigan at Illinois, 3 p.m., ESPNEWS

The Illini could really use a breather after that 25-point thumping against North Carolina (a game that didn’t get out of hand till the fourth quarter). Well, Western Michigan won’t provide that. The reigning MAC champs have already knocked off one Big Ten team on the road, and Illinois better get its offense jumpstarted after a poor showing last week if it doesn’t want to be the second.

Maryland at Central Florida, 6 p.m., CBS Sports Network

DJ Durkin hasn’t faced much in the way of obstacles to his first two wins as the Maryland head coach. For the second straight week, the Terps will be on the road in the Sunshine State, but the Golden Knights shouldn’t be too tricky, either, 0-for their last 13 games against FBS competition.

No. 12 Michigan State at No. 18 Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m., NBC

There’s a lot of mystery still surrounding the Spartans considering they’ve played just one game, a 15-point season-opening win over Furman. Tyler O’Connor looked good in that one, so too did the Michigan State defense, but how will they all fare against real good competition in Notre Dame? DeShone Kizer is one of the country’s top quarterbacks, but Michigan State always seems to get up for these colossal showdowns.

No. 3 Ohio State at No. 14 Oklahoma, 6:30 p.m., FOX

The Buckeyes have looked pretty flawless in their first two games of the season. Yes, the offense started slow against Tulsa, but a pair of pick sixes (Ohio State’s defense has seven picks and three pick sixes this season) jolted the team awake, the offense scoring four touchdowns after halftime. J.T. Barrett and Mike Weber vs. Baker Mayfield and Semaje Perine is the kind of offensive matchup college football fans dream about — but will the Ohio State defense stop a shootout before it starts?

Duke at Northwestern, 7 p.m., Big Ten Network

The Wildcats brutally need a win to avoid going 0-3 in non-conference play. Back-to-back heartbreakers have featured losses thanks to a goal-line fumble and a walk-off field goal, and those were against a team from the MAC and an FCS squad. Duke provides a step up in competition. The Cats needed an incredible defensive performance to win 19-10 a season ago. There's been little evidence to suggest they can put together a similar outing this 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.