Big Ten

Will Corey Clement return for Badgers this week vs. Illini?

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Will Corey Clement return for Badgers this week vs. Illini?

Will Corey Clement be back in action for Wisconsin this weekend?

We'll have to wait until he gets out of bed Saturday.

“It’s still uncertain," the Badgers' junior running back told reporters Wednesday. "I’m just looking forward to the next day. I’m not really pressing anything, saying I want to play or not. That can only be determined when I wake up Saturday morning.”

Clement has been sidelined for weeks following surgery to repair a sports hernia. He played sparingly in Wisconsin's season-opening loss to Alabama before missing the next two games. After that, the team announced he'd have surgery and miss the next four to six weeks. That announcement came on Sept. 24. Exactly a month later, Clement could be making his return to the field when the Badgers visit the Fighting Illini on Saturday.

[MORE BIG TEN: Week 8 Big Ten previews: Can Illini give Badgers a run?]

Wisconsin could certainly use Clement back in the lineup. He was supposed to be the Badgers' biggest offensive weapon this season after putting up great numbers in backup roles each of the past two seasons. He only got eight carries in that season opener, and the Wisconsin offense has been middle of the pack in the Big Ten without him. Most noticeably, the Badgers are third to last in the conference in rushing offense, accumulating just 154.6 rushing yards a game. That's a shockingly low rank for a Wisconsin program that's build a legacy of extremely talented backs.

It looked like Clement might've made an early return last week against Purdue. He warmed up with the team and was in uniform on the sideline, but he never got into the game.

Clement said Wednesday that part of that was making sure he was physically ready to go, while the other had to do with his mindset coming back from the surgery.

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“A lot of things go into it, sometimes confidence, how I was truly feeling at the moment, did I want to fool myself and go out there thinking I was 100 percent when I really wasn’t," he said. "You just have to be smart at that point in time. I felt as if they didn’t need me. We got the win out of it, and that’s all I can ask for.

“I kind of let the first half slip away. I just wanted to watch. I think I was a little too hesitant to get back out there, was kind of iffy. But as I went back in the locker room, gave myself a little pep talk, talked to the coaching staff and was trying to give it a go. Me and (running backs coach John) Settle exchanged words and he said, ‘We really don’t need you at this point, so why not just watch the rest of the game and heal up for next week if you’re coming back.’”

His return could be a big difference for the Badgers against an Illini team that boasts one of the nation's top 30 defenses. The Wisconsin offense could also use a jumpstart after three less-than-impressive games in Big Ten play against Iowa, Nebraska and Purdue.

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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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.