Illinois' Charest likely to start; Juice questionable

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Redshirt freshman Jacob Charest likely will make his first career start at quarterback for Illinois as the team tries to maintain its slim bowl hopes this week against Northwestern (ESPN Classic, noon ET).

Illinois head coach Ron Zook lists senior quarterback Juice Williams as questionable after he suffered a sprained left ankle in the win against Minnesota.

"[Doctors] don't feel like it's quite as bad as they thought," Zook said Sunday. "They'll see how he progresses through the week. We were all pleasantly surprised."

Williams was on crutches and wearing a walking boot Saturday, so even if he makes an incredible recovery, he'll likely be limited against the Wildcats. Charest will go through practice this week as the starter, while junior Eddie McGee serves as his backup.

Northwestern also is dealing with some injuries at quarterback after rotating Mike Kafka and Dan Persa against the Hawkeyes. Kafka looked limited by a hamstring injury but will have another week to rehab. The bigger concern is Persa, who played most of the snaps against the Hawkeyes before injuring his throwing hand.

Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald will address Persa's status later today.