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Illini in the NFL: Week 5 Recap

Illinois alums found some success in the fifth week of the 2020 season.

NFL: OCT 11 Jaguars at Texans Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A former Illini captain was part of one NFL team’s best performance in years. A few others were inactive or did not play.

Baltimore Ravens

Jihad Ward, defensive end: Ward was in the game for 28 defensive snaps for the Ravens. He had a QB hit, but was otherwise left off of the stat sheet in Baltimore’s 27-3 blowout win against AFC North rivals Cincinnati Bengals.

Buffalo Bills

Del’Shawn Phillips, linebacker: The Bills vs Tennessee Titans game was postponed until Tuesday night. On Monday, Phillips was placed on the Injured Reserve List.

Dallas Cowboys:

Malik Turner, wide receiver/special teams: Turner was inactive for the Cowboys’ NFC East win against the New York Giants.

Houston Texans:

Whitney Mercilus, outside linebacker: Coming off of his best game of the 2020 season, Mercilus was very good again against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans won their first game and Mercilus played a role in that — he recorded a sack and almost had a fumble recovery. *Technically he did have a fumble recovery, but he himself fumbled the ball a second after, before a Texan teammate fell on it.

Indianapolis Colts:

Tavon Wilson, safety: The veteran DB had one tackle in the Colts’ loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Dawuane Smoot, defensive end: Against the Houston Texans in a losing effort, Smoot had 2 tackles, including 1 tackle for loss.

Kansas City Chiefs:

Nick Allegretti, guard: Allegretti again served as O-line depth for the defending Super Bowl champs, who fell to the Las Vegas Raiders 40-32 in an AFC West divisional game.

Miami Dolphins:

Ted Karras, center: Karras started at center in Miami’s Week 5 cross country blowout win at the San Francisco 49ers. Karras has played every single offensive snap for the Miami Dolphins.

Clayton Fejedelem, safety/special teams: Fej was involved in some trickery in Miami’s 43-17 cross country win at the San Francisco 49ers.

No doubt he’s a jack of all trades athlete with the Dolphins. Need proof? Fejedelem appears on the offensive side of the box score.

Minnesota Vikings:

Hardy Nickerson, linebacker/special teams: The former Illini grad transfer was on the Vikings’ active roster yet again, this time on primetime on Sunday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks. Nickerson did not appear on defense, but he was on the field for 60 percent of Minnesota’s special teams snaps.

New Orleans Saints:

Justin Hardee, cornerback/special teams: Hardee was inactive for the Saints’ win against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football.

Practice Squad guys:

Chase McLaughlin is a practice squad member on the Minnesota Vikings. Veteran defensive lineman and former first-rounder Corey Liuget was added to the Houston Texans’ practice squad last week.

*Just a reminder, Detroit Lions wide receiver Geronimo Allison and New England Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19.