5 Questions: Illinois

Otto Greule Jr

This week's questions deal with Jaydon Mickens, John Ross, the Illinois defense, the Husky pass defense, players stepping up and playing on the road.

1. Can Jaydon Mickens and John Ross replicate their performance from week 1? They combined for 13 catches and 148 yards against Boise State, and were one of the big keys to the Husky offense taking a step forward from last season. Their ability to stretch the defense horizontally by catching passes behind the line of scrimmage helped to open things up for Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith to attack deep, and they -- as well as Austin Seferian-Jenkins -- will surely benefit from another big game from those two.

2. Can the Illinois defense contain Keith Price? In their first two games, Illinois has allowed 649 yards through the air, and they weren't exactly playing world beaters. No, the Illini defense has not seen an offense that resembles anything near the weapons that the Huskies will trot out on Saturday, and they've still been cut up pretty badly. As long as Price plays under control and takes what is there -- as he did against BSU -- he should put up another day that makes people take notice.

3. Can the Husky pass defense do to Nathan Scheelhaase what it did to Joe Southwick? If the Husky defense can eliminate Illinois's big plays in the passing game -- or at least limit them to very few -- then they should be able to get off the field quickly, stay rested, and get the ball back to the offense to do its thing.

4. Who steps up this week? On every good team, it seems like a new face steps up every week. Last week it was Mickens. Will someone new take the spotlight this week? If the Huskies are truly a good team, someone new is going to have to be the man against Illinois. A lot of teams have star players, and a lot of teams have star players who have great games and their team loses. It's the other guys that distinguish the middle class from the upper.

5. The road. Can the Huskies conquer that demon? It'll be the biggest question about this team until they do.

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