Canadian Chase Brown has stellar opening to Illinois' 2022 NCAA opener

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Canadian Chase Brown showed why he was on the 2023 Senior Bowl watch list.

The Illinois running back ran for 151 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries in the Illini's season-opening 38-6 win over Wyoming on Saturday. The five-foot-11, 205-pound native of London, Ont., also became the 19th player in school history to rush for over 2,000 career yards and first since 2011 (excluding quarterbacks) to score three touchdowns in a game.

"He's just really patient," Illinois head coach Bret Bielema said of Brown after the contest. "He's playing at a really high level."

On Monday, Brown was named the Big Ten's offensive player of the week.

Much is expected this year of Brown. Last season, he had a team-high 1,005 yards rushing and five TDs on 170 carries (5.9-yard average) while adding 14 catches for 142 yards.

Brown was third last year in Big Ten rushing yards per game (100.5).

Not surprisingly, Brown was named to the '23 Senior Bowl watch list last week. He was one of seven Canadians selected by officials with the U.S. college all-star game, which annually attracts many of the top prospects for the NFL draft.

Joining Brown on the list were his twin brother, Sydney, a starting defensive back at Illinois. The six-foot. 205-pound Sydney Brown had two tackles (one solo) against Wyoming.

Also named were offensive linemen Dontae Bull (Victoria) of Fresno State, Sidy Sow (Bromont, Que.) of Eastern Michigan, Matthew Bergeron (Victoriaville, Que.) of Syracuse and Kyle Hergel (Toronto) of Texas State; and defensive lineman Tavius Robinson (Guelph, Ont.) of Ole Miss.

Chase Brown has also been named to the '23 watch list for the Maxwell Award (top U.S. college football player), Doak Walker Award (top U.S. college football running back) and Cornish Trophy (top Canadian in NCAA football).

The Brown twins, Bergeron, Sow, Hergel and Robinson were also included on the Cornish Trophy watch list.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug, 29, 2022.

The Canadian Press