Huskies Insider Blog

Huskies vs. Illinois gameday box, players to watch

As always, here is the gameday box that published alongside our game advance in today's newspaper.

HUSKIES GAMEDAY

Illinois (2-0) at WASHINGTON (2-0)

1 p.m. PT, Husky Stadium

TV: FOX. Radio: 1000-AM, 97.7 FM.

The series: Washington leads 6-4. The Huskies won the last meeting, 34-24, in Chicago in 2013. 

What to watch: The most intriguing matchup will be Illinois QB Wes Lunt against Washington’s inexperienced defensive backfield, which will be without suspended cornerback Marcus Peters. The Huskies allowed 475 yards passing and 7 touchdowns to Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams last week, and while Lunt probably isn’t quite as skilled as Adams, he did throw for 456 yards last week against Western Kentucky. The Fighting Illini put the ball in the air a lot, so the Huskies will have to be ready for it – and will have to play better than they did a week ago to prevent Illinois from scoring a bunch of points. … The Huskies also want to see a little more balance out of their offense, which rushed for 356 yards last week and averaged 6.2 yards per carry, but is still trying to figure out how to excel in the passing game. Cyler Miles will make his second start of the season, and is still trying to get in rhythm with UW’s receivers while also working on his decision-making in the pocket. He and his offensive teammates face an Illinois defense that ranked 116th in the nation last season in rushing defense.

The pick: Washington, 45-35.

Prime numbers

WASHINGTON

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year

17 Travell Dixon CB 6-1 195 R-Sr.

Dixon replaced Peters after he was benched last week and played solid. UW will need him again today.

26 Sidney Jones CB 6-1 171 Fr.

Same goes for Jones, who also filled in at cornerback last week and performed well during camp.

22 Lavon Coleman RB 5-11 217 R-Fr.

Bruising tailback leads the team in carries and rushing yards through two games. Expect more of him against weak Illini run defense.

8 Hau’oli Kikaha OLB 6-3 246 R-Sr.

13 sacks last year, but new role as buck linebacker might be limiting his pass-rush opportunities.

ILLINOIS

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year

12 Wes Lunt QB 6-5 225 R-So.

Big, strong-armed quarterback who fits traditional pocket-passer description.

8 Geronimo Allison WR 6-4 195 Jr.

JUCO transfer leads team through two games with 10 catches, 140 yards.

3 Taylor Barton DB 6-1 215 R-So.

Not to be confused with former UW QB by same name. Team co-leader in tackles with 21.

9 Earnest Thomas III LB 6-2 210 R-Sr.

Plays “STAR” hybrid LB/DB position. Second on team in tackles in 2013.

Christian Caple can be reached at christian.caple@thenewstribune.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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