Two Illinois football players who were vital to the Illini pulling off a stunning 37-34 win at Michigan State on Saturday were recognized on Monday by the Big Ten.
Receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe was named the league's co-offensive player of the week with Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan and safety Sydney Brown earned the conference's co-defensive player of the week accolade with Minnesota defensive back Antoine Winfield, Jr., after Imatorbhebhe and Brown had strong performances during the Illini's sixth win on Saturday that clinched a bowl berth for the first time in Lovie Smith's four seasons as the Illinois coach.
Imatorbhebhe, a Southern Cal transfer, caught four passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. His nine touchdowns on the season are one away from the program's single-season mark of 10 receiving touchdowns currently held by former Illini greats Brandon Lloyd and David Williams.
Imatorbhebhe hauled in a 37-yard catch on fourth-and-17 during the Illini's eventual game-winning drive on Saturday that ended with quarterback Brandon Peters hitting Daniel Barker on a 5-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left in the game.
Brown compiled 13 tackles and two interceptions in the win, including a 76-yard interception return for a touchdown that trimmed the Illini's deficit to 31-30 with less than five minutes to play.
The win by Illinois on Saturday marked the biggest comeback in school history, with Illinois trailing 28-3 in the first half and 31-10 to start the fourth quarter.
The Illini (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) are off this upcoming Saturday and play again on Nov. 23 at No. 23 Iowa (6-3, 3-3).