Illinois Moves Up in AP Top-25 After Dominant Win Over Nebraska – NBC Chicago

Illinois Moves Up in AP Top-25 After Dominant Win Over Nebraska – NBC Chicago

After yet another impressive victory, the Illinois Fighting Illini are up to No. 14 in the latest Associated Press Top-25 poll.

The Illini, who won their sixth consecutive game by a 26-9 margin over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, are in the top-15 of the rankings for the first time since Dec. 2007, when they rose all the way to No. 13.

Georgia remains in the top spot of the rankings, with Tennessee and Ohio State currently tied at No. 2. The Volunteers will face Georgia next Saturday in Athens, with the top spot in both the national rankings and the SEC East division on the line in a highly-anticipated showdown.

The Michigan Wolverines, fresh off a huge win over in-state rival Michigan State, stay at No. 4, with Clemson rounding out the top-five.

Penn State, who lost to Ohio State in Happy Valley on Saturday, are the only other Big Ten team in the rankings, checking in at No. 16.

Illinois hadn’t been ranked in the Top-25 since 2011, but they’ll also make some history this week, as they’ll be ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time in program history.

The Fighting Illini have made their reputation this season on running the football and on defense, and both trends continued on Saturday. They held Nebraska to a 2-for-12 performance on third down, and kept the Cornhuskers’ offense in check, allowing just 248 yards. They also forced four turnovers in the contest.

Chase Brown, who ran for 145 yards in the victory, became the first Big Ten running back to hit 100 or more rushing yards in each of his team’s first eight games since Ezekiel Elliott performed the feat for Ohio State in 2015.

Brown still leads the nation in rushing after the victory, with 1,208 yards on the ground so far this season.

Illinois’ defense has been the best in the nation this season, allowing just 8.9 points per game and 224.5 yards per game, both of which are tops in the FBS.

Perhaps most importantly of all, Illinois remains in firm control of their own destiny in the Big Ten’s Western division. They are 4-0 within the division this season after beating Nebraska, with a 4-1 record overall in the Big Ten.

Next week the Illini will face the Michigan State Spartans, who are 1-4 in conference play so far this season and who have one of the worst scoring offenses in the Big Ten.

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