With a name like Paul Kruger, the same as that of the famous Boer president, any football player is bound to make history. In a close match between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, Kruger swung the game in the Ravens’ favour, giving them a three-point win in America’s most important sporting competition.
Kruger hails, not from the Transvaal, but from Utah. Both of the former University of Utah star’s sacks came on third-down plays, forcing the 49ers to settle for field goals in Baltimore’s 34-31 victory in Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome.
“That’s just what came to mind,” he said.
On the final possession of the first half, the 49ers reached the Baltimore 9 before Kaepernick rolled to his right and had to duck under Kruger, who officially was credited with a sack for no gain.
Former Utah defensive lineman Manny Fernandez recorded a total of three sacks in three Super Bowls for Miami in the 1970s, leaving Kruger something to shoot for in his next appearance. That may or may not come with Baltimore, as he’s becoming a free agent following his fourth NFL season. Kruger recorded 4.5 sacks in four playoff games and 13.5 sacks in 20 games, counting the regular season.
“We had to fight for everything we got,” Kruger said. “Nothing was given to us, and we played in so many tough games like that.”
Kruger, a quarterback at Timpanogos High School, and defensive lineman Haloti Ngata of Highland became the first pair of former Utah prep athletes to team up for a Super Bowl winner. Ngata made two tackles before spraining his knee in the third quarter and spending the rest of the game in the locker room.
“I’m just happy that they were able to finish off without me out there,” Ngata said.
Counting a loss for East’s Will Tukuafu, a 49ers defensive lineman, Utah preps now have a collective 6-20 record in Super Bowls.