September 9, 2007

Murphy steals show in his home debut

Deon Murphy said he came to Kansas State to shine in games like this. Although the Wildcats were sloppy at times on both sides of the ball, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder looked sharp as he caught a 15-yard touchdown pass and sprinted 21 yards on an end around for another score during a 34-14 win over San Jose State on Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The victory was the 18th straight for K-State in a home opener, its most lopsided score in a home opener in four years and the Wildcats' first win at home since an upset against then-No. 4 Texas last November. Murphy, who finished with 188 all-purpose yards and came within 13 yards of also scoring on a punt return, believes the Wildcats' third-largest margin of victory under second-year Coach Ron Prince could be a sign of things to come as they will face Division I-AA Missouri State at home next weekend.

"I felt really comfortable," said Murphy, a junior college transfer from Coffeyville College. "That's what I'm here to do. Coach Prince told me that's why he brought me here, to play fast and confident. Playing like that will get anybody into the end zone. We're going to enjoy playing at home this season."

However, the outcome in front of 45,545 wasn't exactly the statement Prince was hoping for one week after the Wildcats took No. 18 Auburn the distance. Prince said he wouldn't begrudge a win, but K-State scored just once between the second and third quarters, and committed nine penalties for 96 yards, including four on third downs that allowed San Jose State to continue drives. The Spartans took 72 snaps -- nine more than the Wildcats -- and held the ball for 33 minutes, nine seconds.

"We took too many plays on defense," Prince said. "We can't allow those long third-down conversions and those long drives. We were just out there way too long for my taste and offensively we stalled too often in plus territory or else we could have extended some of those drives."

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