UI-Washington: Media mayhem
Three media members who will cover today’s game at Soldier Field weigh in:
I expect a lot of scoring. When you look at Washington’s offense, you can’t help but say it’s dynamic. They were dynamic against Boise State, and they didn’t have arguably their best player in tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He’s a big man. You go back 20 years ago, that’s an offensive tackle. We’re seeing players get bigger and bigger. I won’t say the defenses won’t play a role, but you’re going to see some high scoring from both teams. Washington is going to run its tempo. It’s all predicated on stopping them on first down. Everything is dictated off getting a first down in tempo. Then they’re set at the line. If Illinois can force an incompletion or 1- or 2-yard run on first down, that’s important. When it comes to tempo teams, Illinois needs to slow them down on first down. I was really, really impressed by what Illinois did against Cincinnati. I thought they did a phenomenal job of executing on offense. It was fun to see Illinois football play at that kind of level. I’d go as far to say that Illinois would be ranked if it beats Washington.
Washington’s radio play-by-play
In the “what have you done for me lately?” department, both of these teams come well armed into today’s game. Question is, which one will be able to make that claim afterward? For Washington, this game represents a chance to show the handy win over a nationally ranked Boise State team was one of substance and not form on a festive night in Seattle. The Huskies had a lot of things going for them in that game, not the least of which was a raucous atmosphere surrounding the debut of a remodeled stadium. They also debuted their new fuel-injected, more-plays-the-merrier offense that produced 38 points and nearly 600 total yards. And this was in the absence of an All-American-type tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who returns for this game. Still, Washington is 6-16 away from home under coach Steve Sarkisian, who has made better play on the road a focal point of the 2013 campaign. What might have seemed a less-than-imposing road challenge this week took on a different light with the Illini’s impressive win over Cincinnati. And it may be the Huskies’ defense that draws our attention here today. After holding Boise State without a touchdown, can the Dawgs somehow contain a Bill Cubit offense that will throw everything, including the kitchen sink, Washington’s way? The team that best handles its assignments on defense and plays with some discipline on that side of the ball is the likely winner at Soldier Field.
Seattle Times beat writer
A week ago, this would’ve been a much easier pick. At that point, with Washington coming off an impressive season-opening victory over Boise State, you would’ve figured the Huskies wouldn’t have had much problem pulling away from an Illinois team picked to finish last in the Big Ten. That was before Illinois routed Cincinnati 45-17 last week in Champaign. Suddenly, this game looks a lot more interesting. Well ... maybe. These two teams, as UW coach Steve Sarkisian noted on Monday, have much in common, at least offensively. The Huskies’ makeover debuted as well as they could’ve hoped in the form of 592 yards of total offense, 38 points and a revitalized Keith Price in the romp of Boise State. Similarly, under new coordinator Bill Cubit, the Illini also have a remade senior quarterback in Nathan Scheelhaase, who leads the Big Ten in passing. We’ll start to find out today which team has staying power. My hunch is it’s the Huskies.