Our countdown to kickoff continues this weekend with the Chicago Homecoming game. The Illinois Fighting Illini football season begins just four weeks from today, so we got some previewin’ to do! Illinois’ third game of the season is most likely their biggest game of the entire year. The Illini will travel to Soldier Field in Chicago to play the Washington Huskies in the Chicago Homecoming game.
2012 Record: 7-6 (5-4 in the Pac-12)
Key Losses: DB Justin Glenn, DB Desmond Trufant
Key Returners: QB Keith Price, RB Bishop Sankey, WR Kasen Williams, DE Andrew Hudson, LB Shaq Thompson
Player to Watch: RB Bishop Sankey
It’s hard to pick just one player to watch on this Washington Huskies team. However, the most underrated player on the Washington Huskies this season might be running back Bishop Sankey. He will be underrated because quarterback Keith Price will receive most (if not all) the national attention for the Huskies. Against Oregon last season, Sankey scored two of Washington’s three touchdowns while Price was struggling. Overall, Sankey ran for 1,439 yards and sixteen touchdowns in 2012. When it comes to the Chicago Homecoming game against Illinois, Sankey might be enough to help the Huskies even if the Illini can make Keith Price struggle.
Prediction: Illinois 24 – Washington 21
Not only is the Chicago Homecoming game the most important non-conference game for Illinois, but it could very well be the most important game of their season as well. Illinois and Northwestern have always fought over the city of Chicago and Northwestern even calls themselves, “Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Since this game is at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois will need to come out ready to play in order to win over Chicago. The Fighting Illini should be able to feed off of the hype to pull off a close win in this game.
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