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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 13, 2014 at 4:47 PM

First impressions: Huskies 44, Illinois 19

Washington's Shaq Thompson celebrates with John Timu (10) and Andrew Hudson (93) after his 36-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first half. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Washington’s Shaq Thompson celebrates with John Timu (10) and Andrew Hudson (93) after his 36-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first half. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Early impressions from the Huskies’ 44-19 victory over Illinois on Saturday afternoon before 62,325 at Husky Stadium. UW is now 3-0 on the season with another home game against Georgia State next week (3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).

From Seattle Times reporter Adam Jude:

1. Happy now? The UW defense took a lot of flack over the past week, and rightfully so after what Eastern Washington did. The Huskies responded as well as one could’ve hoped against Illinois — particularly when you consider the Huskies played without both of their starting regular cornerbacks, Marcus Peters (suspension) and Jermaine Kelly (leg injury, out for the year). The Huskies forced Illinois to settle for a field goal on its first drive, and it only got better from there for the UW defense. Shaq Thompson set the tone for a dominant day with a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter to push the Huskies’ lead to 21-3. Thompson added a 52-yard fumble return for another touchdown (after a strip by Andrew Hudson) in the second quarter. UW forced three turnovers, sacked West Lunt six times and held the Illini to 1 for 11 on third-down conversions.

2. Passing fancy: Lunt, Illinois’ sophomore quarterback, came in looking the part of a future NFL quarterback, but it was UW’s Cyler Miles who impressed most with his improved passing. UW coaches had hoped for marked progress in the passing game, and they got that Saturday. Miles was 15 of 19 for 191 yards and one touchdown through three quarters. Miles had also for 55 yards on nine carries entering the fourth, though he did cough up UW’s first turnover of the season on a scramble in the third quarter. Still, Miles looked even more comfortable in this new offense than he did a week ago, a good sign for UW’s improving offense.

3. Ross is definitely boss: John Ross III doesn’t need many touches to have a big impact. The speedy sophomore receiver scored on a beautiful 75-yard touchdown pass from Miles in the first quarter to give UW a 14-3 lead. That was Ross’ fourth touchdown on the season on his first eight offensive touches. Ross also had a 100-plus-yard kickoff return called back.

And from Seattle Times reporter Percy Allen:

1.  Washington’s Pac-12 opener against Stanford on Sept. 27 can’’t get here soon enough. The Huskies may want to bubble wrap everyone for next week’’s final nonconference tune-up against Georgia State.

2. Coach Chris Petersen suspended Marcus Peters after his sideline outburst last week against Eastern Washington. Going forward, the Huskies will need the junior standout cornerback if Saturday’’s game was any indication. Travell Dixon, the senior transfer who from Alabama, was beaten on 60- and 27-yard touchdown passes.

3. Give credit to Washington offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith for mixing in a few trick plays in the play calling. The Huskies looked 10 times faster than Illinois, which had difficulty keeping up with receivers John Ross III and Jaydon Mickens on fly sweeps, screen passes and go routes.

Washington's Dwayne Washington punches his way into the end zone scoring on a 12-yard run in the 2nd quarter to give the Huskies a 28-8 lead over Illinois. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

Washington’s Dwayne Washington punches his way into the end zone scoring on a 12-yard run in the 2nd quarter to give the Huskies a 28-8 lead over Illinois. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

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