Former Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall (#34) had a big first half during the AFC Championship Game, which is Pittsburgh Steelers would hold on to beat the New York Jets and advance to Super Bowl XLV.

Pro-Style Pigskins: Conference Title Edition of Fighting Illini in the NFL

After another exciting weekend of NFL football, only two teams (and one former Fighting Illini in Rashard Mendenhall) remain.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers will face off on Super Bowl Sunday to determine which team will be the world champion for the 2010 season.

Mendenhall is seeking his second championship. He received a championship ring when the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals two years ago in Super Bowl XLIII. However, Mendenhall did not play in that game due to a broken collarbone suffered in the first game of the 2008 season.

This time around, Mendenhall will be a huge factor for the Steelers as they take on an aggressive Green Bay defense.

Here is a recap of the Illini in the two championship games.

Running Back Rashard Mendenhall vs. Punter Steve Weatherford, Offensive Lineman Brandon Moore and Tight End Jeff Cumberland

This was a game of two halves.

Pittsburgh scored the first 24 points and led 24-3 at the break.

The Jets, however, did not give up, and made it a game as they pulled within five points with just more than three minutes remaining before the Steelers were able to run out the clock.

Mendenhall was huge for the Steelers, rushing for 121 yards and a touchdown and adding 32 yards on 2 receptions. He also made a key play when recovering a Ben Roethlisberger fumble following a sack of the Pittsburgh quarterback.

Weatherford had a decent night, averaging 38 yards on 4 punts, including one downed inside the 20.

After a sleepy first half, Moore and the rest of the Jets’ line did a decent job protecting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who threw for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and opening up holes for Shonn Green, who ran with great effectiveness in the second half.

Cumberland is a reserve and did not see any action.

That’s all for now.

Until Super Bowl XLV in Dallas.

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Tags: AFC Brandon Moore Green Bay Packers Jeff Cumberland New York Jets NFL Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall Steve Weatherford Super Bowl

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