Cyler Miles was running for his life when he dropped the football, far behind the line of scrimmage, and the Oregon Ducks recovered it in the fourth quarter of their 45-20 victory over the Washington Huskies on Saturday night.
And to make matters worse, Miles, UW’s starting quarterback, also appeared to be injured when he came to the sideline. He sat down on a bench on UW’s sideline while trainers examined him and took his helmet – protocol for a player being evaluated for the possibility of a concussion – and when the Huskies’ offense next took the field, redshirt freshman Troy Williams was at quarterback.
Asked afterward if Miles suffered a concussion, Huskies coach Chris Petersen said only, “we’ll see.”
Williams fared well in his first extended action of the season, leading the Huskies on a 17-play, 75-yard scoring drive that he capped with a change-of-direction, 7-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-goal scramble.
The 6-foot-2, 194-pound Williams completed two of his seven passes on that possession for 24 yards, and also rushed five times for 28 yards. He finished 5 for 10 passing for 37 yards.
Williams hadn’t attempted a pass in his UW career before Saturday night. Third-year sophomore Jeff Lindquist was listed as the backup quarterback on UW’s depth chart, but offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said Williams had supplanted him as the second-stringer during practice.
“Troy had kind of started taking some of the (second string) turns the last couple weeks, really,” Smith said. “He’s done some things at practice. We feel fine with Jeff, too, but we wanted to see Troy out there and I thought he did some good things.”
Asked to evaluate Williams’ performance, Petersen said, “It’s hard to really know. I think he did a fine job when he was in there. Sometimes it’s easy to just get thrown in there, fresh set of legs and eyes and all those type of things. Good to get him in there and see him do a few things.”
Miles completed 19 of 28 passes for 147 yards, a touchdown and an interception, his first of the season. UW now has three turnovers this year, each of them committed by Miles.
He wasn’t the only Huskies player who appeared to be ailing. Starting tailback Dwayne Washington left the game in the first quarter and did not return. Petersen said Washington suffered a chest injury.
Starting left guard Dexter Charles was wearing a walking boot on his right foot as he left the Huskies’ locker room.
Kikaha closing in
Despite UW’s porous defensive performance, senior outside linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha recorded 2.5 sacks to move his nation-leading season total to 12.5. He also led the team in tackles Saturday with 10.
Kikaha’s season sack total is now two shy of the UW single-season record of 14.5 set by Jason Chorak in 1996, and just a half-sack shy of the Huskies career record of 30 set by defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim.