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Fighting Illini in the NFL: Vontae Davis shines in Week 1

The Pro Bowl cornerback held Sammy Watkins to zero catches.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The NFL kicked off its regular-season Thursday with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and two former Illini -- Michael Hoomanawanui and Tavon Wilson -- picking up a 28-21 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here's how former Illini players performed in Week 1:

Vontae Davis (CB, Colts) - Davis didn't see a pass thrown his way until the third quarter. He made one pass deflection on three of the passes thrown to Buffalo Bills No. 1 wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who he held to zero catches, in a 27-14 loss to Buffalo.

Corey Liuget (DT, Chargers) - Liuget had two tackles in a 33-28 win over the Detroit Lions.

Whitney Mercilus (LB, Texans) - Mercilus had two tackles and one pass deflection in a 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Alan Ball (DB, Bears) - Ball made three tackles and one pass deflection in his regular-season debut for the Bears. He didn't perform well against Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones, who grabbed four catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns.

Here's a full list of former Illinois players in the NFL:

  • Jeff Allen (OT, Chiefs)
  • Jon Asamoah (OL, Falcons)
  • Alan Ball (DB, Bears)
  • Arrelious Benn (WR, Jaguars)
  • Michael Buchanan (DE, Bills)
  • Jeff Cumberland (TE, Jets)
  • Vontae Davis (CB, Colts)
  • Michael Hoomanawanui (TE, Patriots)
  • Corey Liuget (DE, Chargers)
  • Whitney Mercilus (DE, Texans)
  • Akeem Spence (DT, Buccanneers)
  • Hugh Thornton (OG, Colts)
  • Tavon Wilson (FS, Patriots)