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Mikel Leshoure made history against Northwestern. Can Chase Brown top him?

On the eve of the HAT game, let’s look back on one of the most impressive Illini performances of all time.

Illinois v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The rivalry between the Northwestern Wildcats and Illinois Fighting Illini admittedly doesn’t have the same luster as Michigan/Ohio State, Alabama/Auburn, or Oklahoma/Texas, but it’s certainly delivered some memorable moments.

Remember last year? In the waning seconds of Illinois' 47-14 win, Bret Bielema brought out injured seniors Mike Epstein and Jake Hansen for the final kneeldown.

Or how about 2014’s season finale, when a Mason Monheim pick-six sealed Illinois’ sixth win of the year, while simulataneously eliminating Northwestern from bowl contention?

Then there was 2011 — when Nathan Scheelhaase & the Fighting Illini overcame a 28-10 defecit late in the third quarter to defeat the Wildcats, 38-35, and hoist the Land of Lincoln Trophy on homecoming.

As you’re preparing your next plate of leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, and (hopefully canned) cranberry sauce, let’s take a few moments to look back on one of the most impressive individual performances in Illinois history.

Nov. 20, 2010. The first and only time the Illini and Wildcats faced off at Wrigley Field (the famous/infamous “one way” game) featured multiple record-setting efforts. Illinois tailback Mikel Leshoure devoured the Northwestern defense, running for 330 yards — still a program record — and two touchdowns. As a team the Fighting Illini amassed 519 rushing yards in the 48-27 victory, including a team-record 303 yards in the first half.

Leshoure finished the 2010 season with 1,697 yards, a mark that — for now — still stands as the program record. Chase Brown needs just 116 yards the next two games to set the new single-season record. Against Michigan last Saturday, Brown registered his 10th 100-yard game of the season, eclipsing Leshoure's previous record of nine, also set in 2010.

Here's hoping CB2 makes some more history against the Wildcats this weekend. Let’s keep The Hat in Champaign for another year.