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Illinois Football names Rashard Mendenhall Honorary Captain



Illinois Football
Oct 6, 2007; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Rashard Mendenhall (5) drops the football and celebrates his touchdown run during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Illinois beat Wisconsin 31-26. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Football names Rashard Mendenhall Honorary Captain.

When the Illini take the field Saturday afternoon against Northwestern at Memorial Stadium, a familiar face will be with them. Illinois named legendary running back and 2023 Illini Athletic Hall of Famer Rashard Mendenhall honorary captain. Mendenhall played at Illinois from 2005-07. He rushed for 2,539 yards and 22 touchdowns in his career. Mendenhall set the single-season record for rushing yards (1,681) in 2007 and was named Big Ten offensive player of the year.

In addition, he won the Silver Football Award, was All-Big Ten First Team, and was an All-American. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Mendenhall in the first round, and he played six seasons –five in Pittsburgh. Mendenhall won a Super Bowl in 2010, his best season, running for 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Mendenhall might be the only Super Bowl Champion with an Emmy Award. After he retired from the NFL, he won an Emmy as a writer for the HBO series “Ballers.”

It’s all on the line in Champaign.

Illinois football (5-6) has a lot riding on this game. First, the Illini look for a three-game winning streak in the series after losing six consecutive games. An Illini win means a bowl game for the second straight season since 2010-11. Finally, it is the home finale, so this is the last game for the seniors and underclassmen who will declare for the NFL draft.

The Illini look for a positive end to a season with its share of disappointments.

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Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.