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Illini, past and present, tweet support for program, Tim Beckman

Illinois football players, past and present, took to Twitter on Thursday to show their support for the program and head coach Tim Beckman. Last Sunday, former offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic sent out a flurry of critical tweets that accused Beckman of running a culture of player mistreatment. Cvijanovic, who tore his meniscus vs. Ohio State on Nov. 1 and missed the rest of the 2014 season, stopped playing football because, “I was asked to push myself past pain until I didn’t want to play anymore.” The offensive lineman started 29 games at Illinois during his final three seasons. He was

Photo: Gene Smith has matryoshka to commemorate national title

Anytime Gene Smith wants to relive Ohio State’s memorable 2014 national championship run, he has the doll for it. The Ohio State athletic director tweeted a picture Wednesday afternoon of a 16-piece matryoshka laid out on a desk. The biggest doll is in an Ohio State uniform and holding the inaugural College Football Playoff trophy, followed by Oregon, Ohio State’s national title game opponent. The dolls continue to get smaller in the opposite order of the 2014 schedule, all the way down to Navy, the Buckeyes’ 2014 season-opening foe. All of the dolls, decked out in the uniform/helmet combination the

Twitter: Minnesota punter Peter Mortell hosts fun Q&A

Minnesota punter Peter Mortell is one of the best in the business. [ MORE: Like this post? Visit our Gone Viral section ] The unanimous 2014 All-Big Ten first teamer needs no introduction when it comes to Minnesota and Big Ten fans, and that was evident during his Twitter Q&A on Wednesday afternoon. Mortell took over the @GopherFootball account for an hour, answering fans’ – and a former teammate’s – questions with plenty of humor and wit. See our favorite questions and answers from Mortell’s Twitter Q&A below. Again, Mortell’s responses are from the @GopherFootball account. *** *** *** ***

Iowa City tops list of best cities for college graduates in 2015

Big Ten towns are fantastic places to call home for both students and recent graduates. [ MORE: Tom Dienhart analyzes Iowa’s 2015 schedule ] According to American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), the Big Ten boasts four of the top 10 best cities for college grads in 2015. Even more impressive: Iowa City comes in at No. 1 and Ann Arbor No. 3. Only Ithaca, New York, stands in the way of Big Ten towns staking claim to the top 2. “A growing technology corridor has improved economic opportunity in Iowa City, and low rents, more restaurants and bars, as

Photo: Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh featured on regional SI cover

We’re in the thick of NBA and NHL postseasons and baseball season is starting to hit its stride, however sports fan can never get enough football. It’s true, no matter the time of the year. The latest proof: Jim Harbaugh is featured on a regional Sports Illustrated cover this week. The cover includes a close-up shot of Harbaugh, wearing his Bo-inspired Michigan hat, a quote of his about enemies and the following text: “Michigan’s Coach Comes Home.” Harbaugh, of course, played quarterback at Michigan before enjoying a long NFL career and going on to become a coach. He’s been a

Video: Michigan star Sierra Romero sets NCAA record for grand slams

No player in the history of NCAA softball has more grand slams than Sierra Romero. [ MORE: View our 2015 Big Ten Softball Tournament homepage ] The Michigan star hit her record 10th career grand slam in Michigan’s Big Ten tourney quarterfinal vs. Penn State on Friday afternoon. Best part: Romero is just a junior, meaning she will have many opportunities to pad her lead. Romero’s 10th bomb with the bases packed highlighted Michigan’s explosive 13-run second inning. If the top-seeded Wolverines hold on, they will face No. 4 Northwestern in the semifinals Saturday afternoon.

Photo: Randy Gregory shows off new Dallas Cowboys tattoo

In case you’re wondering, yes, former Nebraska star Randy Gregory is excited about playing for America’s Team. [ MORE: Big Ten draft picks pick NFL numbers ] Gregory, the 60th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, recently tweeted photos of his new Dallas Cowboys-inspired ink. The ex-Nebraska star defensive end was expected to be an early first-round pick, before off-field issues saw him drop to the second round. Gregory tweeted that he will use the drop as motivation, and the Cowboys aren’t shying away from putting big expectations on the pass-rusher, giving him No. 94, the same number Hall of

Video: Iowa's Sammi Gyerman rips go-ahead home run vs. Rutgers

Iowa used a pair of long balls to erase a 3-1 deficit in its Big Ten tourney opener vs. Rutgers on Thursday night in Columbus, Ohio. [ MORE: View our 2015 Big Ten Softball Tournament homepage ] First, it was Kaitlyn Mullarkey blasting a two-run shot in the top of the sixth inning to tie the score. An inning later, Sammi Gyerman stepped to the plate and followed with another two-run homer, this one to put the Hawkeyes ahead 5-3, which proved to be the final ledger. Gyerman and the 10th-seeded Hawkeyes will face No. 2-seed Minnesota in the quarterfinals