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Chase Brown named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week

The Illini have their first accolade since Week ero.

NCAA Football: Charlotte at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Brown ran his way into the Illini record books on Saturday, and took home Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

The sophomore running back set a career-high in rushing yards against Charlotte, racking up 257 yards on the ground. Brown’s previous high was 131 yards in the Illini’s win over Rutgers last season.

Brown’s 257 yards are the fourth-most by an Illini in history — eclipsing Red Grange’s career-high in doing so. That number also marks the third-most by any FBS player in 2021.

This is Brown’s first such honor, and his head coach was very impressed by his record-setting day.

“You see Chase and his abilities and skillset, but he has the ability to hit the home run, too,” said Bret Bielema. “He’s just scratching the surface of what he will become.”

Brown was honored to be mentioned with Illini legends after the game.

“When I first came to Illinois, I knew I wanted to be part of those big name guys that played here before me,” Brown said. “The fact that I was able to come out [Saturday] and put on the performance that I did, I’m grateful. I feel really blessed.”

Most of Brown’s yards came on a pair of third quarter touchdowns, where he displayed the type of physicality he can run with and also his breakaway speed.

First the thunder:

Then the lightning:

Brown and the Illini will look to keep it going this weekend against Wisconsin and its top-ranked rush defense.

The Homecoming contest is set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on Big Ten Network.