Dawgman Predictions

Washington was incredible in their complete and utter blowout win over Boise State in the opener. It was a marvelous beginning to the season, as the offense scored on four-straight possessions and the defense kept BSU out of the end zone. Now, after a bye, the Dawgs hit the road to Chicago. How will they fare at Soldier Field against a rejuvenated Illinois squad? Here is what the staff thinks...

Kim Grinolds – CEO: Speed, speed, speed - Washington has it, Illinois doesn't. Expect Illinois to hang for awhile, but Washington will pull away by wearing them down. Washington opens the season 2-0 with a big road win and moves up the poles a couple of spots.

Prediction: Washington 38, Illinois 10
Chris Fetters – Editor In Chief: This is going to be an interesting test for the Huskies. We will find out if the bye week fixed the issues Sark and his coaches focused on, or if the week off took away the momentum generated by the Boise State win. I think Illinois will struggle to keep up with Washington's tempo on offense, and UW will have to generate at least a couple of turnovers defensively because they will give up yards via the air. The key will be to once again limit the big play and make sure the Illini are turning touchdown opportunities into field goals in the red zone.

Prediction: Washington 42, Illinois 16
Scott Eklund – Recruiting Editor: Is this the week that Washington gets the "road monkey" off their back and gets a big road win for head coach Steve Sarkisian? If Keith Price takes care of the ball and the defense plays up to their capabilities, I see a UW win. Washington has too much team speed that will eventually wear down the Illini, but I think that QB Nathan Scheelhaase will keep them close for a half.

Prediction: Washington 40, Illinois 21
Jay Torrell – Sports Washington Creative Director: First off, how glorious was opening day in the new Husky Stadium? The biggest compliment I can give is that there wasn't one thing I would change from the stadium to the game, perfect day. Congrats to all of those who were involved in building that Montlake palace. [And for the record since I missed last week's prediction, I had UW 35-BSU 17. Truly felt that Boise State was wildly overrated headed into the season.] Now to Illinois. The last time I stayed in Chicago for a Husky game was for the embarrassing purple helmeted wipeout at Notre Dame in 1996. I expect a much different result this year as an offensively loaded Husky team should outpace a surprising Illinois squad. I don't think the Illini win over Cincinnati was as impressive as the final score. They got some serious breaks and the Bearcat defense looked awful (btw-how bad must Purdue be?) The combination of the return of ASJ, emergence of Mickens/Ross as big play threats, Sankey's dynamic play and a confident Keith Price will allow the Dawgs to post a big number on a yet to be tested Illinois defense. The only variable will be what the senior QB led Illini offense can do--but do we really think that they'll be better than Boise State's offense (or defense for that matter?) In hindsight Illinois must be wishing this game was still in Champagne instead of Chicago because the home field advantage will be muted by only having 45,000 fans in a 61,500 capacity Soldier Field. Avoid the costly turnovers and much like the game against Boise State the Dawgs run away from Illinois in the second half.

Prediction: UW 42, Illinois 24
Pat Thrapp – Statistics Coordinator: As I watched the 1st half of the Illinois game versus Cincinnati. I was impressed with Illinois's play. They could move the ball fairly well. On D they were stopping Cincy for the most part. Illinois really spreads the ball around. Both in rushing & passing. In passing 11 players had at least 1 reception. Now how good is Cincinnati? Hard to say. They scored half as many points as Southern Ill who Illinois played the week before. I don't think we will cover the spread. We will score points. Being on the road will be a good test for us against a reasonably decent opponent.

Prediction: Washington 35, Illinois 28
Andrew Dore – Intern Emeritus: This week provides another chance for Illinois to prove they are for real. Last week was a convincing win for the Illini in the blowout over Cincinnati but I still am not sold. The Huskies come in as more than a touchdown favorite and I think it will be an even bigger margin by the time the clock hits all zeros. ASJ's return will add yet another weapon to the Husky offense. I think the Husky defense will still play well without the home field advantage. I see the Huskies pulling away easily in the second half.

Prediction: UW 41, Illinois 13
Andrew Poehlman - Columnist: If you watched Illinois last week--and you were trying to be impartial--it was hard not to come away impressed. The bumbling, barely-able-to-beat-an-FCS-team, raggedy disaster a bunch of us tuned into see seemed to be replaced by a crisp team with a capable quarterback, intriguing athletes and fiery, precise play. For the most part, Illinois dominated a Cincinnati team that many expected to dominate them and they did not do it with trick plays, turnovers and luck; they did it by marching up and down the field and executing on both sides of the ball. In Husky minds, memories of the Boise State domination have started to recede and remembrances of road-struggles have emerged as their replacement and all of Husky nation is left wondering, "what should we expect?" Should we expect the UW team that showed up hapless on the road last year? The team that was embarrassed by Arizona, a 2-win WSU, a team that couldn't do anything to horrible Colorado in the first half? Or should we expect the unexpected team we saw come onto the fresh field of Husky Stadium against Boise and dominate every phase of the game? In my view, this game sets up perfectly as a test for the UW. If we really are that good, we should handle this test. If we are not-yet ready for prime time, we might struggle. But could we lose? Can we pronounce with confidence that the implosion in Pullman will never happen again? What I think is that we will do well. I think the game may have another up-and-down start, but as our offense executes play-after-play, Bishop Sankey gets more-and-more carries, our defense makes tackle-after-tackle, I think our Huskies will not allow doubt to creep into their minds like it did in Pullman. I think we will frustrate and confound the Illini and I think, in the end, we will emerge victorious because we will wear an inexperienced team down mentally and physically. We have more talent, we have a defense that does not give up points or easy plays and we won't have time to worry that we're imploding when things go wrong.

Prediction: Washington 34, Illinois 16
David Samek – The Dawgman: Washington has yet to show me that they can play mistake free on the road. They get distracted, turn the ball over, and miss tackles and take bad angles much more often away from Montlake Boulevard. Some of that is human nature (distractions) and some of that is coaching (expect to win no matter where). Is this the game Sark puts his road stamp on this program? I see Illinois moving the ball and keeping up with the Husky offense for the first half. The UW secondary will get tested as will the linebackers, because the pass rush is still in work. However, the Husky hurry-up offense will make its impression in the second half and the home team will begin to wither. Bishop Sankey goes for 160 yards and although Washington never pulls away, they do win in the fourth quarter to improve to 2-0.

Prediction: Washington 33, Illinois 28
Marshall Cherrington - Intern: After week 1, I thought this game was going to be a blowout win for the Huskies. But after, Illinois' performance last week against Cincinnati, I think it will be a much closer game. Nathan Scheelhaase is the real deal to me and this is why I think the Illini will stay with the Huskies in the first half. If the Huskies come out slow on the road, which they have many times in the past, I expect Sark to make some significant adjustments at halftime. In the end, I think these adjustments will be the key and will help the Huskies to lead to an easy victory. I expect Kasen Williams to have a huge game.

Prediction: Washington 31, Illinois 17

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