CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) -- Even before the surge that came from beating No. 6 Wisconsin and Purdue, Illinois football alumni tell WAND Sports that there is an increased desire for former players to "come back" and support their former team.

Decatur native Brit Miller is one of those former stars, and he spoke of that surge in alumni support during a visit to the WAND studio earlier this month.

Former Bills lineman Marques Sullivan and former Saints punter Steve Weatherford are just two of the many other former pros who have made their support public via social media.

Prior to Illinois' fateful game against Wisconsin, Super Bowl champion running back Pierre Thomas appeared with fellow Illini backfield alumnus Howard Griffith on BTN's pregame show. In between his interview and the game he stopped to chat with WAND's Gordon Voit about why he made the trip to Memorial Stadium, his recruitment and the two applications he's working on now that his playing days are over.