Preview: Illinois at Washington


After the Arena Football League swung through Husky Stadium in last week’s 59-52 win over Eastern Washington, Washington welcomes Big Ten foe Illinois for a nationally televised game.

After a moribund showing Week 1 against Hawaii, Washington’s offense found its groove with Cyler Miles at quarterback. The sophomore passed for one touchdown and ran for three TDs, including two to help UW come from behind the in fourth quarter. Linebacker Shaq Thompson scored his first rushing TD, a 57-yard burst that gave the Huskies a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

That was the good news. The Dawg defense, however, was befuddled by Eastern quarterback Vernon Adams, who threw for 475 yards and seven touchdowns. The lone bright spot was Danny Shelton, who became the fifth Husky nose tackle to have at least four sacks in a game. The 339-pound senior leads the nation with six sacks.

In Illinois, the Huskies will face another team that relies on the pass. Sophomore Wes Lunt, a Oklahoma State transfer, completed 35 of 50 passes for 456 yards and three TDs in last week’s 42-34 win over Western Kentucky.

Lunt will test UW’s young secondary, which will be without junior standout Marcus Peters. He is suspended for Saturday’s game after an unsportsmanlike penalty followed by a sideline tantrum against Eastern Washington. Washington will turn to senior Travell Dixon, who joins two freshmen and a sophomore in the defensive backfield.

Still, this is a matchup the Huskies should handle. Illinois needed fourth-quarter rallies to beat W. Kentucky and Youngstown State at home. Plus, the Illini don’t run the ball, averaging just 71 yards per game.


Illinois at Washington

When: 1 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium, Seattle

TV, radio: Fox, AM-1550

Records: Illinois (2-0), UW (2-0)

Key to game: The Huskies had 615 yards of offense in last year’s 34-24 win over Illinois. They might need that much again in the secondary doesn’t play better than last week. Expect Illinois to throw often, which will put pressure on freshmen DBs Budda Baker and Jermaine Kelly.

Quotable: “I’m just not into stupid penalties. It’s not even an issue whether the guy’s going to play or not if they don’t conduct themselves right. If you don’t play like we want you play, you’re not playing. It’s not even a decision for me; it’s easy.” — UW coach Chris Petersen on benching Marcus Peters.

Prediction: Washington 45-31


Micah Rice

Micah Rice

Columbian Sports Editor Micah Rice is the author of Tailgate Talk: College football from a Clark County perspective.

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