49ers Find Their Own "Refrigerator" in Win - NBC Bay Area


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49ers Find Their Own "Refrigerator" in Win

Isaac Sopoaga a hit on both sides of the ball.



    49ers Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Takeo Spikes, Vernon Davis and head coach Mike Singletary talk about beating the Raiders for the team's first win of the season. (Published Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010)

    The San Francisco 49ers iced their 17-9 win over the Oakland Raiders Sunday by installing their own "Refrigerator".

    Isaac Sopoaga, the 330-pound native of American Samoa in his seventh season playing defensive line for the 49ers, was called out onto the field to line up at fullback for a critical third down late in the fourth quarter.

    The 49ers needed the first down to secure the win. With only an eight-point deficit, the Raiders could have still potentially tied and taken the game to overtime.

    Sopoaga had never before played a snap on offense in a regular season NFL game. "Oh, I was so anxious," Sopoaga told Comcast, "I was so looking forward to it."

    Video: Raiders on Loss to 49ers

    [BAY] Video: Raiders on Loss to 49ers
    Raiders head coach Tom Cable, quarterback Jason Campbell and linebacker Kamerion Wimbley talk about the loss at Candlestick to the 49ers.
    (Published Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010)

    It was reminiscent of William "The Refrigerator" Perry, the Chicago Bears' defensive lineman who rushed for a touchdown in Super Bowl XX.

    Sopoaga's first play was a mammoth success. On third-and-two with the game on the line, Sopoaga successfully blasted a hole in the Raiders' defensive line to spring Frank Gore for the game-clinching first down.

    Sopaga's second play was the "victory formation", in which Alex Smith simply took a knee to run out the clock.

    The Sopoaga-as-fullback play is known in Niners' playbook as as "22 Ice," and Matt Barrows reports in the Sacramento Bee that the 49ers now call Sopoaga "The Ice Truck".

    Sopoaga did play fullback and kicker in high school, back when he weighed "only" 285 pounds.

    There are not that many 285-pound placekickers out there, people.

    Sopoaga is no slouch on the defensive line, either. He has five tackles for losses this season, tops among all 49ers defensive linemen.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is recommending a new hairdo for 49ers fans.