CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Even though Illinois and No. 19 Washington are both coming off big wins it isn't clear yet how good either is.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman says it's too early to be sure what the hot start for the Illini (2-0) means. Illinois beat Cincinnati last weekend, taking over the game in a way that quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase says the team hasn't in a long time.
Washington quarterback Keith Price says his team faces a tough road test Saturday in Chicago after beating Boise State at home. The Huskies haven't won on the road outside the Pac -12 since 2007.
"I don't know how good we are — I still don't know," Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, said.
Saturday's game at Soldier Field should tell both teams a lot more about themselves.
Washington will be the first ranked team Illinois has faced since last season, and the Illini haven't exactly enjoyed those match-ups in recent years. In fact, they've lost five straight and 14 of 15 against ranked teams since upsetting Ohio State back in 2007.
The Huskies, meanwhile, will be looking at their first road test of the season, and a long way from home at that.
"It's hard to do, to win on the road," quarterback Keith Price said.
Five things to watch Saturday at Soldier Field:
ROAD DOGS: Price is right about the road. The Huskies haven't won away from home outside the Pac 12 since a 2007 win at Syracuse. And, overall, they've lost seven of their last nine away from home.
"We've obviously had our issues on the road when we've gone there," Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said. "I think our team understands the way we play at home is exactly the way we want to play when we go on the road."
So even playing in an NFL venue like Soldier Field — and one with a long history at that — shouldn't concern the Huskies, he said.
"We've been preaching 'Anywhere, anytime, anyone,'" Sarkisian said.
BIG STAGE: A game at Soldier Field offers Illinois a bigger stage than it's played on in a while, and a big moment. That win over Cincinnati and the way the team took over that game has the Illini riding a wave of momentum.
"It's probably been two years," Scheelhaase said, trying to recall the last time the team really took over a game.
But a game in Chicago is important for off-the-field reasons, too. The school has tried to make the city its own in terms of fans and recruits for years, with, at best, mixed results. Illinois is calling Saturday's its Chicago Homecoming.