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The Good, The Bad & The Unknown: Illinois

The Huskies step up and win comfortably for the first time in 2014.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Alas , a blowout - After opening the season with two games that could not have been closer, an easy breezy, Saturday afternoon blowout was a welcome reprieve. A blowout was especially enjoyable in this game, considering that the underwhelming performances in the first two games had many assuming that this was going to be a very tight one.

Holding the line - Numerous times in the second half, this looked like one of those games that could sneakily get close but the Huskies never let the Illini back in. Every time the Illini needed a conversation to make a game of it, the Husky defense closed the door and the Husky offense iced the game with some great run blocking and tough running.

Shaq Thompson - Thompson nearly outscored Illinois by himself as a defender and was just one little trip up from busting a long touchdown run as a running back. He had out-of-this-world expectations coming into college, so it is especially nice to see him turning into the electric player that everyone envisioned him being when he came out of high school.

Turnovers - After failing to create turnover in the first seven quarters of the season, the Husky defense is starting to look opportunistic. The Husky defense not only created three turnovers, but made the most of them, with Thompson's athleticism turning two of them into points.

Offensive line - Even without Ben Riva again, the offensive line looked dominant against an opponent from a major conference (don't know how much longer we will consider the Big Ten one though). The offensive line has come a long way since their struggles against Hawaii.

Hau'oli Kikaha - Kikaha has been solid thus far, a bit overshadowed by Danny Shelton's amazing play, but this was his coming out party for 2014 with three sacks, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and a fumble recovery. It was also nice to see Kikaha playing more of his traditional role, unleashing his rushing abilities upon the passer and getting pressure in three-man fronts.

Special Teams - Cameron Van Winkle knocked down a 52-yarder along with getting kickoffs into the end zone, Dante Pettis looked like the first dangerous Husky punt returner in eons and John Ross would have taken a kick back for a score had Travis Feeney gotten away with a block in the back. Grape job!

The Bad

Pass defense - I know they were missing Marcus Peters and Jermaine Kelly, but the Husky secondary looked helpless when challenged. They were greatly covered up by how well the Husky front seven played, but if the defensive backs don't start growing up quickly, Pac-12 teams are going to eat them alive.

FOX -An LA resident, I missed the first quarter and change of the game because FOX scheduled a baseball game before the game that predictably ran very late and outside of Illinois and Washington, they stuck with the game and pushed the Husky game to FOX Sports 2, which I am pretty sure isn't a real channel. FOR SHAME!

Illinois & the Big Ten in general - Don't want to take anything away from the Husky victory, but Illinois simply looked awful in just about every facet of the game. I know that the Illini are a perennial Big Ten cellar dwellers, but they looked incredibly slow and soft on the lines, in line with how most of the Big Ten has looked thus far in 2014.

The Unknown

Does this mean anything though? The Huskies looked great in dismissing the Illini, appearing as they may have put it together a little bit after the struggles of the first two weeks, but could that just be because Illinois is simply terrible? We won't know for a couple more weeks.

The return of Marcus Peters - Peters wasn't playing his best football before his suspension, but after seeing the Husky secondary without him, especially with the loss of Jermaine Kelly, his presence is greatly needed as soon as possible. I am assuming that Peters will be back for Georgia State, but don't know for sure and how he responds to everything will play a large role in the 2014 Washington season.

Done with tinkering? It has looked like Chris Petersen and his staff have been using the Husky non-conference slate to play around with things a bit and figure out what they have, but how many of their cards have they shown? And how much have they figured out?