AUSTIN (KXAN) — Byron Murphy isn’t ready to claim he has the best hands on the team after his touchdown grab against Wyoming, but he’s been waiting to stand tall in the end zone for a while now.
Murphy hauled in a 1-yard scoring pass from Quinn Ewers for Texas’ first touchdown in the Longhorns’ 31-10 win over Wyoming on Saturday, and the 6-foot-1, 310-pound defensive lineman lined up at fullback to make the play. He’s the second defensive lineman to score an offensive touchdown in Longhorns history. Derek Lokey was the first to do it during the 2007 Holiday Bowl.
The play has been part of the offensive since last season, Murphy said, so he’s had to bide his time to get a shot at getting six.
“I’ve just been waiting for my time,” he said. “We’ve been practicing it, so when the opportunity presented itself, I was ready.”
It was set up perfectly. Longhorns head coach and play caller Steve Sarkisian had the personnel package on the field the play before, using Murphy as a lead blocker out of the standard I-formation. Jonathon Brooks got bottled up for no gain on the 1st-and-goal run from the 1, and then the opportunity Murphy talked about came to fruition.
As tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders motioned across the formation away from the play, Ewers took the snap under center and faked to Brooks at tailback, leaving Murphy a free run into his pattern just beyond the goal line. Brooks occupied a Wyoming defender to give Ewers just enough time to loft the ball toward Murphy, who looked it into his hands like he catches passes every day.
“I’ve got some of the best hands on the team,” he said with a laugh. “When it came, I was there and ready to go.”
MORE THAN THE SCORE: Stay up to date on sports stories like these, and sign up for our More than the Score sports newsletter at kxan.com/newsletters
Sarkisian said Murphy has “excellent hands,” and has been part of the team’s jumbo package for a couple of seasons.
“To throw him a ball, and nobody gets more excited than when a D-lineman catches a touchdown pass. That was pretty cool to see,” Sarkisian said.
Murphy said he had some carries while in high school at 6A powerhouse DeSoto, which seems almost comical when you start to think about high school players trying to tackle a guy as big as him. Could there be a time, perhaps with the ball on the doorstep of the end zone, that we see the Longhorns’ version of William “The Refridgerator” Perry become a human battering ram and crash into the end zone with the ball in his hands?
“I wish,” Murphy said.