2. Rashard Mendenhall & Daniel Dufrene – 1,975 – 19 TD
The top two best running back duos for the Illinois football team since 2000 is extremely top-heavy. It is hard to not put Rashard Mendenhall No. 1 on any running back list since 2000, but this is a duos list, so I have to slot him at No. 2.
Checking in at the No. 2 spot is Mendenhall and second-string running back, Daniel Dufrene. That 2007 campaign was special. These two talented running backs, led by Mendenhall, helped propel Illinois to a Rose Bowl appearance that year.
Mendenhall is the best running back I have ever seen in an Illinois uniform. His best season came during the 2007 campaign when he would run for 1,681 yards and 17 touchdowns. I have never seen anyone at Illinois be able to run with such speed, agility, and power in my lifetime.
The No. 2 option at running back was Dufrene that season. He would end up with 47 attempts for 294 yards and two touchdowns. When it was all said and done, this duo combined for 1,975 yards and 19 touchdowns, which were both the second-best by a running back duo since 2000.
I don’t know if Illinois fans will ever see another running back like Mendenhall. I can’t express to you enough how impressive he was on the football field. If this was a list of the best running backs since 2000, he would be No. 1. But this is a list of the top duos, so I have to put him No. 2.