Scottie Cordier got the touchdown, Marty Mohamed got the Player of the Week award and the Cal Poly defense came up big in Saturday's stunning 35-33 upset of No. 1 Montana.
Defensive end Kyle Murphy might just be the fastest rising standout among them after forcing the turnover that stopped the Grizzlies cold in the fourth quarter.
"The thing about Kyle is we think he's a blue-collar guy," Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said. "He just fights his tail off every snap of the ball, and when you continue to fight all the way from whistle to whistle, sometimes you end up in pretty good places."
Cordier, a senior safety who led the Mustangs with four interceptions last season, had a game-changing pick against Grizzlies quarterback Andrew Selle that he returned 45 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter.
Coming just moments after backup quarterback Doug Shumway had given Cal Poly its second lead of the night, Cordier's first-career touchdown return gave the Mustangs a 28-20 advantage and all the momentum.
Mohamed, who essentially ended the game with his interception of Montana backup Justin Roper in the final seconds, was named Great West Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday after his career- and game-high 15-tackle effort.
Whereas Cordier's and Mohamed's big plays could be classified as game-winning, Murphy's contribution has to be filed under game-saving.
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound transfer from Santa Rosa Junior College was in on just two tackles all night, but his one solo tackle halted the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter when it seemed nothing else could.
After Shumway followed Cordier's interception return with his second touchdown pass of the game, providing a 35-20 lead, it took Montana fewer than 4 minutes to get two touchdowns on the board.
The Grizzlies were going for the third, one that would have given them the lead back, and were nearing midfield when Murphy beat Montana's left tackle on a speed rush and knocked the ball away from Roper as he was cocking back to throw.
"I just happened to get the edge a little bit," Murphy said, "grabbed what I could and the ball just happened to be there.
"It was almost like I didn't know what happened. I just grabbed what I could, and I just saw the ball and went, 'Oh, gotta fall on it now.' "
The play went down as Murphy's first sack as a Mustang, his first forced fumble and his second fumble recovery.
Murphy recovered a fumble forced by safety Greg Francis in the backfield of Humboldt State in a six-tackle effort last week.
"The one last week, someone popped it out, and I just happened to be running over there and saw it. I just happened to see the ball, and it didn't take an athletic play to fall on it. I just fell down and grabbed it as tight as I could."
With one each against the Grizzlies and the Lumberjacks, Murphy is also the only player on the team aside from cornerback Asa Jackson to register more than one pass deflection so far this season.
On a defensive line that has been rotating liberally to utilize a newfound depth, Murphy — tied with Gavin Cooper for the most tackles among defensive linemen with eight — has been the most productive according to the numbers.
"It's his tenacity and who he is as a guy that really helps us become who we are," Walsh said.
THE KICKING SITUATION
True freshman kicker James Langford got his first opportunity to kick field goals and extra points just in time for coaches to determine which of their two kickers — Langford or senior Jake West — they'll be traveling on their upcoming five-game road stretch.
West, a former Atascadero High standout, kicked all three extra points against Humboldt last week and hit the PAT that gave Cal Poly a 7-0 lead over Montana on Saturday.
He's been perfect on extra points, but West has missed both of his field goal attempts this season.
The first was a wide-left 33-yarder against the Lumberjacks, and the second, a missed 45-yarder against the Grizzlies, seemed to open the door for Langford, who was responsible for the Mustangs' final four PATs against Montana.
Langford had the distance but missed on his only field goal attempt, a 50-yarder, on Saturday.
Walsh has said that he'll only travel one kicker, and with neither having made a field goal, the tiebreaker might be Langford's effectiveness on kickoffs.
In 10 kickoffs this season, Langford is booting balls 15 yards deeper on average than West did last season.