As usual, all eyes were on the quarterback for the University of Washington on Saturday afternoon.
Except this time fans got a glimpse of the future in the Huskies’ 56-0 victory over Idaho State.
Fifth-year senior Keith Price is gone after this season. And it appears redshirt freshman Cyler Miles, the 6-foot-4, 213-pound roadrunner from Centennial, Colo., is entrenched as the next guy in line.
Miles played five series in the blowout win, coming on in relief of Price late in the first half.
And the first play of his first real extended playing time in college?
A juggled snap in the shotgun, which turned into a run for no gain.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Price said. “I knew (Miles) was a little nervous, and kind of bobbled the first snap. I said, ‘OK, that was just his first play.’ He got his feet wet a little bit, got comfortable and you saw what he can do.”
Miles recovered to complete his first pass – a 13-yard connection with DiAndre Campbell – along the right sideline on his next play.
On the UW’s first series of the second half, coach Steve Sarkisian wanted to see Miles throw extensively so he called four pass plays. Two were completed to receiver Marvin Hall, including one on a slant-in pattern. But he was also too high to tight end Joshua Perkins on one pass, and threw way behind John Ross on another seam throw that could have resulted in a long touchdown.
“He’s a (Price) rolled ankle away, knock on wood, from playing football for us,” Sarkisian said. “I wanted to give him a chance to play football.
“I think he was a little hesitant early and missed a couple throws he is capable of making.”
Things got better for Miles later in the third quarter.
He tossed a swing pass to Ross in the left flat that the true freshman receiver turned into a 57-yard touchdown – Miles’ first scoring pass at the UW.
And the last play of the third quarter was easily his eye-opening moment, faking a handoff to Dwayne Washington on a read-option play.
After the entire Idaho State defensive line bit toward the tailback’s direction, Miles had a huge crease on the right side to run.
And he ran ... and ran ... and ran.
He ended up with a 61-yard scamper to the Bengals’ 4-yard line, the second-longest ever by a Huskies quarterback behind Warren Moon’s 71-yarder in 1977.
“I need to get into the end zone on that one,” Miles said.
Miles finished with a team-high 89 rushing yards on four carries, and was 5-for-7 passing for 97 yards.
“I definitely feel like I can improve on some throws,” Miles said. “There were a couple throws that I just pulled the string on (and missed).
“I am the type of guy to never be satisfied. I understand those couple throws I need to have.”