1. Mikel Leshoure & Jason Ford – 2,177 – 24 TD
The best running back duo for the Illinois football program since 2000 came out of nowhere. Just three seasons after Rashard Mendenhall wore the No. 5 uniform and tore up the Illini backfield, Mikel Leshoure did the same.
In 2010, Illinois didn’t quite have the same success as the 2007 team. We did make a bowl game and beat the future Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, but this team wasn’t as good. Despite the 7-6 record, the Illini had the best running back duo since 2000 in Leshoure and Jason Ford.
Leshoure was a monster during the 2010 campaign. He would rush the ball for 1,697 yards and 17 touchdowns, which was the most by any running back over the past 20 years. Leshoure was the workhorse for the Illini and showed that he was one of the best running backs in the college game.
Illinois’ second option at running back was Ford. He was a solid running back for the Illini and was more of the bruiser-style runner. He would finish the 2010 campaign with 480 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
As a duo, Leshoure and Ford would combine for 2,177 yards and 24 touchdowns during the 2010 season. Both of these numbers led all Illinois running backs since 2000. That is why they go down as the best running back duo Illinois has had since the 2000 campaign.