Illinois’ passing attack faces its toughest secondary yet in Washington
Sean Parker vs. Nathan Scheelhaase
Scheelhaase followed up his career-high 416-yard passing performance against SIU with 312 passing yards and four touchdowns against Cincinnati, placing him sixth in the nation is passing yards (728). Scheelhaase will have to face the 23rd-ranked passing defense from last season in Washington, led by senior safety Sean Parker. Parker, who was an honorable mention all-Pac-12 last season, finished second on the team with 76 tackles after starting every game for the Huskies for the second consecutive season. Parker picked off Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick in Washington’s 38-6 win on Aug. 31.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Illinois defense
Preseason All-American tight end Seferian-Jenkins was suspended during Washington’s only game so far this season after he was charged with a DUI over the summer. Seferian-Jenkins, who was a third-team AP All-American last season, will return to face Illinois after finishing with 852 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last season. Illinois allowed 83 yards and a touchdown to SIU’s MyCole Pruitt on Aug. 31, who is also a heralded tight end, being named to the FCS preseason All-American second team by The Sports Network. Linebackers Jonathan Brown and Mason Monheim may have to drop back into coverage to help contain the Huskies 6-foot-6 tight end.
Keith Price vs. Illinois secondary
Washington senior quarterback Price has already broken several records during his first three seasons in Seattle. Entering this season, Price holds the school records for completion percentage in a season (.669 in 2011), career competition percentage (.631), passing efficiency for a season (161.9 in 2011) and career passing efficiency (138.9). Price threw for 3,063 yards and a school-record 33 touchdowns during his first season as a starter in 2011, but dropped off to throw for just 2,728 yards and 19 touchdowns in last year’s up-and-down campaign. Illinois has struggled defending the pass so far, as both Southern Illinois (341) and Cincinnati (308) threw for more than 300 yards against the Illini this season.