By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
SEATTLE — As the quarterback heir apparent to senior Keith Price, redshirt freshman Cyler Miles got the first extended minutes of his UW career vs. Idaho State on Saturday.
Miles took over in the late minutes of the second quarter and played until the last few minutes of the fourth period in Washington’s 56-0 victory at Husky Stadium.
“It was great to get out there,” said Miles, who was 5-for-7 for 97 yards and one touchdown. “I had a lot of fun.”
He also got some teasing after getting tackled at the Idaho State 4-yard line after a 61-yard dash on the final play of the third quarter. Bengals defensive back Pat Carter came from all the way across the field to stop Miles short of the end zone.
“I need to get in the end zone on that one,” Miles said with a sheepish smile.
UW head coach Steve Sarkisian was generally pleased, saying “(Miles) was a little hesitant early and I think he missed a couple of throws he’s capable of making, but I thought it was good for him to get out and use his legs. We saw his explosiveness on the perimeter and he made a couple of (good) throws.
“It was really good to get him into the rhythm of playing football where he was comfortable.”
The touchdown pass was the first of Miles’ career, but it was more of a showcase for wide receiver John Ross. Midway through the third quarter, he caught the flat pass from Miles, got a block near the line of scrimmage, dodged, and easily won a footrace down the left sideline for a 57-yard TD.
“John Ross did most of the work for me, but it was fun,” Miles said.
“We saw a little glimpse of … why we think (Ross) is so special,” Sarkisian added.
Ex-UW running back Chris Polk was on the sideline for Saturday’s game, cheering on his former teammates. Polk plays for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, and since his team played on Thursday night he was free to travel to Seattle for the game.
Polk used to room with Price, and the two friends were planning to get together after the game. Price was asked if Polk, who is drawing an NFL paycheck, would be buying dinner.
“Hopefully,” Price said. “I’m kind of broke.”
The Husky Legend salute between the third and fourth quarters honored the 1963 UW team that won the Athletic Association of Western Universities (a predecessor of the Pac-8, Pac-10 and Pac-12) championship to reach the Rose Bowl. The team, coached by Jim Owens, included Everett native and future UW head coach Jim Lambright.
Honoring coach James
In the week it was announced that former UW coach Don James was beginning chemotherapy for a malignant tumor on his pancreas, Sarkisian made sure to acknowledge James to his players.
“I talked to the team (Friday) night about Coach James and about playing a brand of football that he’d be proud of,” Sarkisian said.
“(Sarkisian) mentioned to us that Coach James had been released from the hospital and that he was going to be watching the game, and that we had to do this for him,” said safety Sean Parker. “So it was good to go out there and get the win for Don James.”
Idaho State coach Mike Kramer went out of his way to praise Sarkisian and the Huskies for not leaving his team emotionally and physically battered. It was a contrast to a year ago when the Bengals traveled to Nebraska and suffered a 73-7 loss to the Cornhuskers.
“I’ve been coaching a long time,” Kramer said, “and the way Coach Sarkisian and his staff treated us … was one of the most outstanding examples of sportsmanship and care of another team that I’ve ever seen.”
Kramer said he appreciated “the entire Husky organization for making sure that we didn’t come out of it as badly humbled as last year against Nebraska, and I’m very grateful for that.”