Canadian running back Chase Brown is coming off career-best performance at Illinois

·6 min read

Canadian Chase Brown has a tough act to follow Saturday when the Illinois Fighting Illini visit the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday.

His own.

The five-foot-11, 195-pound junior running back from London, Ont., ran for a career-high 131 yards on 17 carries last weekend in Illinois' 23-20 win over Rutgers. The victory was the school's first of the season and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Brown also reeled off a season-high 39-yard run in the contest. He combined with redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Williams, who had a school-record 192 yards rushing in his first career start, to give Illinois two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2018.

Illinois ran for 342 total yards in the contest.

"We wanted to run the football," Illinois head coach Lovie Smith said on the school's website. "A first-time quarterback, we didn't want to put him in a lot of obvious passing situations.

"Chase Brown was outstanding, (he) gave you a glimpse of what he can be. He can make you miss too. He's capable, he has great vision."

Brown transferred to Illinois in 2018 after spending his freshman campaign at Western Michigan. He has run for 247 yards on 35 carries (7.1-yard average) as part of a rotation at running back this season.

Brown's twin brother, Sydney, a starting defensive back, had five tackles (three solo) and a half-tackle for a loss in the victory. The six-foot, 200-pound junior has 27 tackles (17 solo) and 0.5 for a loss and a forced fumble this season.

Sydney Brown appeared in 11 games last season, 10 as a starter, after missing first two contests of the year due to injury. He finished with 88 tackles (51 solo), 2.5 for a loss and three interceptions.

Nebraska (1-2) is coming off a 30-23 win last weekend over Penn State. Barron Miles Jr., a six-foot, 170-pound freshman receiver from Montreal, is on the Cornhuskers' roster.

Barron Miles Sr. was a starting cornerback on Nebraska’s 1994 national title team. He later won Grey Cups with the Montreal Alouettes (2002) and B.C. Lions (2006) over a stellar 12-year CFL career and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2018. He’s currently Montreal’s defensive backs coach and pass game co-ordinator.

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FRESHMAN LEADER: Ottawa's Akheem Mesidor is making quite an impression at West Virginia.

The six-foot-two, 268-pound freshman defensive lineman has a team-high fives sacks for the Mountaineers (5-3). He had four tackles (three solo), one for a loss, and a sack West Virginia's 24-6 win over TCU on Saturday.

Mesidor has 23 tackles (14 solo) and 6.5 for a loss this season. West Virginia's defence has 22 sacks overall.

Another solid performer for the unit is Alonzo Addae, a five-foot-11, 189-pound redshirt senior cornerback from Pickering, Ont., He had eight tackles (three solo) against TCU and this season has 55 tackles (31 solo) with 0.5 for a loss with a forced fumble and two interceptions.

West Virginia's next game is Nov. 28 against No. 18 Oklahoma. The Sooners (5-2) host No. 14 Oklahoma State (5-1) on Saturday in a key Big 12 contest. The Cowboys are coming off a bye week and feature junior running back Chuba Hubbard, of Sherwood Park, Alta., and senior linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga, of Calgary.

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BIG GAMES: The next two games are big for Coastal Carolina.

The 15th-ranked Chanticleers (7-0) host Appalachian State (6-1) with top spot in the Sunbelt Conference East Division standings on the line. Coastal Carolina is 5-0 in conference play while the Mountaineers are 4-0.

Coastal Carolina will attempt to go to 6-0 in Sun Belt play for the first time. And the Chanticleers will play their regular-season home final Dec. 5 versus No. 21 Liberty (8-0), which visits North Carolina State (5-3) on Saturday.

Enock Makonzo, a five-foot-11, 195-pound redshirt junior linebacker/defensive back from Lachine, Que., is having a solid season for Coastal Carolina. Makonzo has 45 tackles (30 solo), 7.5 for a loss with two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

The Liberty-UNC game also has Canadian ties.

Kent Austin, a former CFL player/head coach/executive, is the quarterback coach and co-offensive co-ordinator at Liberty. Toronto's Daniel Joseph, a graduate student from Penn State, is a defensive lineman at UNC.

The six foot three, 265-pound Joseph has 21 tackles (eight solo), five for a loss with four sacks.

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GAMEDAY, FINALLY: It's been a long time between games for Canadian receiver John Metchie III and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

Alabama (6-0) will face Kentucky on Saturday, three weeks after a 41-0 victory over Mississippi State. After having a bye week, the Tide's game against LSU on Nov. 14 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contest against Kentucky will be Alabama's first with the top ranking. The Tide held down the No. 2 spot until then No. 1 Clemson suffered a 47-40 double-overtime loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 7.

The six-foot, 195-pound Metchie, a sophomore receiver from Brampton, Ont., has 24 catches for 517 yards (21/5-yard average) with three TDs this season.

POINT AFTER: Linebacker Jesse Luketa, a six foot three, 242 pound junior from Ottawa, had season-high nine tackles (five solo) with one for a loss, in Penn State's 30-23 loss to Nebraska last weekend. On the year, Luketa has 24 tackles (13 solo) with one for a loss . . . Senior defensive back Patrice Rene of Ottawa had a season-high nine tackles (six solo) and a forced fumble in North Carolina's wild 59-53 win over Wake Forest last weekend. The Tarheels outscored Wake Forest 28-8 in the fourth quarter. In six games this season, Rene has 25 tackles (17 solo), two for a loss with a forced fumble . . . Mohamed Diallo, a six foot-four, 305-pound junior defensive lineman from Toronto, had four tackles (three solo), two for a loss, with a forced fumble and fumble recovery in Central Michigan's 40-10 win over Northern Illinois. Those were his first stats of the season. Diallo appeared in six games last year, starting four, and registered seven tackles (five solo) and 2.5 for a loss . . . Senior receiver Jana Terrell had three catches for 46 yards in Virginia's 31-17 win last weekend over Louisville. The six-foot, 200-pound Vancouver native has 31 catches for 385 yards and a TD this season . . . Calgary's Deane Leonard, a six-foot-two, 195-pound senior defensive back, had a season-high five tackles (three solo) in Ole Miss's 59-42 win over South Carolina last weekend. He has eight tackles (four solo) in five games. Tavius Robinson, a six-foot-seven, 245-pound junior linebacker from Guelph, Ont., had a tackle for a loss and a sack versus South Carolina and has 16 tackles (eight solo), 1.5 for a loss and one sack in seven games this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2020.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press