In the 1997 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan produced one of the best performances of his career in his “flu game.” Marshall’s Tyre Brady did his best flu game impersonation on Saturday night in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Brady, a wideout and redshirt junior, won the game’s offensive MVP award after putting up 165 yards receiving and a touchdown on just six catches Saturday night in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. The touchdown came on a 76-yard pass in the second quarter that opened the scoring.
Brady missed the final three games of the regular season due to an injury and made his presence felt immediately in his first game back. A Miami transfer, he was The Herd’s leading receiver this season, racking up 777 yards and seven touchdowns in 10 regular season games, and he was glad to be back on the field.
“It was great to be out there; I missed the last three games,” Brady said. “I knew I was going to play this week, from the beginning of the week. It was great to go out and play for the seniors.”
For most of the game, Colorado State played single man coverage on Brady, something that surprised him early on, and he made the Rams’ defense pay for it during his big second quarter where he caught three passes for 130 yards and a touchdown pass.
“That’s what my job is, beat single coverage,” he said. “Beat the man across from you, that’s what football is all about.”
The key to his success? Brady attributed it to not worrying about himself, but focusing on the team in order to minimize mistakes.
“Just going out and laying it all out on the line for the seniors, when you play for yourself you force things, you press things. But when you play for your teammates things just fall into place the right way,” he said.
Brady never mentioned that he was playing with the flu, and it wasn’t revealed until his head coach Doc Holliday brought it up.
“Let me tell you something about this guy right here,” Holliday said. “Last night at midnight we didn’t think he was going to play today. He was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed. He spent all night with the doctors trying to get squared away so he could play today and what a great effort. He went out there today and just played tremendous — that’s a tribute to the kind of kid he is and the kind of competitor he is, because a lot of people wouldn’t have even showed up today with what he’s dealing with.”
“Flu game,” Brady added.
Going into the game, much of the conversation surrounded Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup, a Biletnikoff finalist and the top receiver in the Mountain West’s most potent offense. Some players in Brady’s position as the other top wide receiver might use that as motivation, but that’s not the case for him
“I mean, I wouldn’t say ‘extra edge.’ I’m not going to change what I do, how I approach the game. I’m going to stay consistent in what I do every time I approach the field.”
For Brady and Marshall, that approach seems to be working. It certainly was working on Saturday night.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.