Kyle Murphy should play every football game at home against a school whose name starts with the letter S, and Andre Broadous has no fear over what happened to him at Southern Utah last season.
Murphy, Cal Poly’s 6-4, 260-pound senior defensive end, was named Great West Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday after racking up three sacks in Saturday’s 31-27 conference-opening victory over Southern Utah at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
It was Murphy’s second three-sack game of the season. The other came in a blowout victory over South Dakota State at home.
He now has as many sacks as the rest of the team combined and ranks 20th in the Football Championship Subdivision — with zero on the road and zero against non-S teams.
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So, watch for Murphy when South Dakota comes to town in two weeks.
As for Broadous, the junior quarterback had taken over the starting role by this stage last season when a 20-7 loss to the Thunderbirds took it right back.
Down two scores and hopelessly trying to rally the team on the final play of the game, Broadous scrambled in the backfield, where he was sacked and squashed by a Southern Utah pass rusher.
Broadous suffered what eventually became a season-ending shoulder injury and was forced to watch from the sidelines as UC Davis stormed back from a 21-point deficit in the regular-season finale for a 22-21 victory that squelched any shot of making the playoffs.
With the Mustangs’ backs against the wall Saturday against the same foe that ended his season last year, Broadous made several bold plays — the most exciting one also being the one that made him most vulnerable.
Cal Poly had a second-and-5 at the Southern Utah 13-yard line when the Thunderbirds called a timeout with 1:21 left in the game, and Mustangs offensive coordinator Bryan Cook got creative.
On the snap, Broadous pitched the ball to slotback David Mahr and wheeled around the line toward the end zone. Mahr, a former high school quarterback, threw a laser to Broadous as he streaked toward the end zone and made the catch.
Initially looking like he had the space to go the distance, the play went for 8 yards as the Southern Utah defense swarmed the quarterback.
After taking a big hit, Broadous got right back up to run for the game-winning 4-yard touchdown.
He said he hadn’t forgotten about the sack that took him out last season, but it wasn’t going to stop him from making plays.
“Last 2 minutes of the game,” Broadous said, “like everybody else does, I want the ball. I was sure to make the catch. They made a good play on it, but it still got the first down. It was a good play by the offensive coordinator.”
Cal Poly had already lost star cornerback Asa Jackson and slotback Deonte Williams to injuries earlier in the game and had injury scares to senior safety Greg Francis and slotback Mark Rodgers as well.
Needing to run off a string of victories to remain in the playoff hunt, it was a gutsy call to put Broadous into a pass route, and head coach Tim Walsh was behind it 100 percent.
“He’s another guy that’s one of our best players,” Walsh said, “so, we’re not going to shy away. You have to play each game for each week. You can’t look ahead.”