THE GAME: The Washington football team returns to action this Saturday in Chicago as the Dawgs take on Illinois at Soldier Field. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network and kicks off at 5:00 p.m Central Time/3:00 p.m. Pacific. The Huskies, 1-0 after a season-opening, 38-6 win over over then-No. 19 Boise State on Aug. 31, had last Saturday off. After entering the rankings the week before, the UW improved to No. 19 in the Associated Press top 25 and No. 23 in the coaches’ poll. Illinois is 2-0 after wins over Southern Illinois and Cincinnati to open the year. The Illini received votes in both of this week’s polls. The Huskies’ ranking of No. 19 in the AP poll is their highest in that ranking since the UW held the No. 18 spot in October of 2003. Washington and Illinois will be squaring off for the 10th time ever, but for the first time since 1971. The two teams have played in eight regular-season games, as well as in the 1964 Rose Bowl, which Illinois won. After the trip to the Windy City, the Dawgs return home for two straight Saturdays, facing Idaho State in their final non-conference game before opening Pac-12 play vs. Arizona on Sept. 28.
QUICK SNAPS: In the Huskies’ season-opening win over then No. 19 Boise State, the UW held the Broncos without a touchdown for the first time since 1997 ... the UW (85) and BSU (88) combined for 173 scrimmage plays in the game ... UW QB Keith Price broke the school record for career touchdown passes in the Boise State win ... his two vs. the Broncos gave him 56, moving him in front of Cody Pickett (55) ... seven true freshmen played in the season opener: WR Darrell Daniels, DB Kevin King, DE Joe Mathis, WR John Ross, WR Damore’ea Stringfellow, PK Cameron Van Winkle and DB Trevor Walker ... an additional seven UW players saw their first-ever collegiate action vs. the Broncos ... TB Bishop Sankey rushed for 161 yards vs. Boise State, his fifth 100-yard output in the UW’s last six games ... not counting specialists (kickers, punter, snappers, holders, returners) the UW has 36 players who have started at least one game in their career, including eight offensive linemen ... the Huskies have played just one game, of course, but they currently rank No. 7 in the NCAA in total offense, No. 6 in scoring defense and No. 4 in third-down conversions.
TELEVISION: The Washington-Illinois game will air live to a national audience on the the the Big Ten Network with Eric Collins (play-by-play), J Leman (analyst) and Evan Fitzgerald (reporter)providing the commentary. The Big Ten Network will also air repeated broadcasts of the game. Check your cable/dish listings for more.
RADIO: The Washington IMG College Network, with its flagship station KJR 950-AM, will carry the live broadcast of every football game on 18 Northwest radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Damon Huard are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. The home broadcast of the game will also air on Sirius (139) and XM (198) satellite radio.
HUSKIES vs. ILLINI HISTORY: For a stretch of time from 1950 through 1972, Washington and Illinois faced one another on a semi-regular basis, squaring off nine times, with all but one of those coming in the regular season. However, before and after those two years, they've not played one another, meaning its been 41 years since the last game. Washington holds the edge in the all-time series, with five wins and four losses. In 1950, first meeting between the two, an unranked Illinois hosted a 10th-ranked and previoulsy unbeaten (4-0) Husky team, upsetting the Dawgs in Champaign, 20-13. The Huskies went on to finish 8-2 that season, the only other loss coming to Cal. The following year, 8th-ranked Illinois visited Seattle and left with another win, beating No. 20 UW, 27-20. The Illini made it three wins in a row with a convincing 48-14 victory in 1952 in Champaign. Washington finally got its first win over Illinois in 1956, coach Darrell Royal's lone season at Washington, when the Huskies beat the Illini, 28-13, in Seattle. The series picked up back in 1961, a 20-7 UW win in Champaign. The following year, The Dawgs won their third in a row in the series, a 28-7 decision. After the 1963 season, the two teams met in the 1964 Rose Bowl. In that one, a Dick Butkus-lead Illinois squad took a 3-0 lead into halftime and then out-paced Junior Coffey, Rick Redman, Bill Douglas, Charlie Browning and the Huskies, 17-7. Illinois' Jim Grabowski rushed for 125 yards and was named the game's MVP. The last two meetings between the two came in the 1971 and 1972 seasons, both Husky wins behind the arm of Sonny Sixkiller. In '71, tthe Dawgs posted a 52-14 victory in Champaign and then followed that up with a 31-11 win the next season in Seattle.
WASHINGTON-ILLINOIS TIES: It’s no shock that there are very few connections between the UW and Illinois coaching staffs and player rosters. In fact, there are no Huskies from Illinois and no Illini players from Washington (or the Pacific Northwest, for that matter). None of the several Illinois players from California went to high school with any of the Huskies from there (it’s worth noting that the UW’s Kevin Smith went to Centennial High School in Compton while Illinois’ Eric Finney attended another Centennial, in Riverside). On the coaching side, a few members of the UW staff have worked at places where Illinois coaches have spent time, but never together on the same staff.
HUSKIES vs. THE BIG TEN Washington holds a 44-44-2 record all-time vs. Big Ten opponents, a record that includes an 0-2 mark against Penn State (though the Nittany Lions were not members of the Big Ten at the time of their games against the UW) and 4-5-1 vs. Nebraska, also obviously not a Big Ten member at the time of any of those games. Washington has played all 12 Big Ten teams multiple times, but have faced an Big Ten opponent only once since 2003 (the UW played Indiana in ‘03 and Ohio State in ‘07). The Huskies have played Big Ten teams seven times in bowl games since 1990 (not counting Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl last season): Iowa in the 1990 Rose Bowl, Michigan in the 1992 and 1993 Rose Bowls, Iowa in the 1995 Sun Bowl, Michigan State in the 1997 Aloha Bowl, Purdue in the 2001 Rose Bowl and Purdue in the 2002 Sun Bowl. The Huskies went 4-3 in those games. Here’s the UW’s all-time record vs. current Big Ten teams: 5-4 vs. Illinois, 1-2 vs. Indiana, 3-3 vs. Iowa, 5-7 vs. Michigan, 2-1 vs. Michigan State, 7-10 vs. Minnesota, 4-5-1 vs. Nebraska, 3-0 vs. Northwestern, 3-8 vs. Ohio State, 0-2 vs. Penn State, 7-2-1 vs. Purdue, 4-0 vs. Wisconsin.
DAWGS IN AN NFL STADIUM: Given that the UW played its entire 2012 season at CenturyLink Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks, playing in an NFL stadium this weekend in Chicago won’t be that novel. In fact, the UW has played in a number of current or former NFL stadiums over the years. Of course, the Dawgs regularly play in the Los Angeles Coliseum, former home to the Rams, Raiders and Chargers. The UW has also played in a few Holiday Bowl game in San Diego’s professional ballpark. Additionally, Washington has played in the Orange Bowl (Dolphins), Pitt Stadium (Steelers), Sun Devil Stadium (Cardinals) and Kezar Stadium (49ers). It’s worth noting that Husky Stadium was the Seahawks’ home field in 2000 and 2001 (as well as for three games in 1994).