With each passing day, we are getting closer and close to Illinois football in 2014. Even though the Fighting Illini improved their overall record in 2013, fans are just as anxious leading into the 2014 campaign. This is because the Orange & Blue are close to returning to the postseason, and many fans want to see the Illini earn a bowl bid in 2014.
The next game on our schedule preview for the 2014 season is the team’s first road game against the Washington Huskies in Seattle.
2013 Record: 9-4 (5-4 in the Pac-12)
Key Losses: QB Keith Price, RB Bishop Sankey, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, LB Princeton Fuimaono
Key Returners: LB Shaq Thompson, OLB Hau’oli Kikaha, WR Jaydon Mickens, QB Cyler Miles
Player to Watch: The Starting Quarterback
Usually for this section, there’s been one player named as the player to watch in 2014. However, the Washington Huskies don’t know who will be the starter at their most important position of 2014. Many assumed that sophomore Cyler Miles would be the starter, but Miles seems to have “fallen behind the rest of the QB’s.” He will also not be able to start in the team’s first game on August 30th due to a suspension. The other quarterbacks in the race for the starting job consist of: sophomore Jeff Lunquist, redshirt freshman Troy Williams, and true freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels. No matter who starts for Washington under new HC Chris Petersen, they will be the most important Husky of the 2014 season due to the amount of talent lost on the offense over the offseason.
Prediction: Illinois 34 – Washington 24
Illini Nation should expect this to be a MUCH different game than the one we saw in Chicago last season. Washington will not have QB Keith Price, RB Bishop Sankey, or TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins as they are now in the NFL. Because of this, I do not expect the Husky offense to come out as big as they did against the Illini in the second half of last year’s game. Bill Cubit’s offense will get going much earlier than it did in the 2013 meeting, and the offense will be able to just keep ahead of Washington in order to get a ten point victory.
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