April 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Victor Cruz embracing Super Bowl spotlight

MCT

MCT

Flashing grins and sporting his No. 80 New York Giants jersey, Victor Cruz was a popular attraction and the talk of the town in Indianapolis as part of Super Bowl XVLI Media Day, Tuesday.

Cruz, as well as several of his Giants teammates and members of the opposing New England Patriots, gathered at Lucas Oil Stadium – the site of this Sunday’s Super Bowl – where they were greeted by hundreds of reporters as part of arguably the biggest media frenzy in sports.

While the media expectedly hounded players like Tom Brady and Eli Manning, two men who are used to this kind of attention, the day meant something else for Cruz, who has overcome several challenges to be where he is today.
The former University of Massachusetts wide receiver, twice kicked off the team for poor academic standing, has made the most of his last opportunity to shape up and get his life back on track.

After going undrafted in 2010, Cruz signed with the Giants and started seeing regular playing time this season.
He caught 82 passes for a Giants record 1,536 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in the regular season, and he was Manning’s go-to man in the NFC Championship game, where he had 10 receptions and racked up 142 yards to help the Giants reach the Super Bowl.

His play has helped put his hometown of Paterson, N.J. on the map and his signature salsa number on the end zone touchdown dance menu, and he explained on Tuesday how it’s all been possible.

“A lot of hard work, a lot of determination, man,” said Cruz. “Just understanding that whatever options or opportunities come my way, I have to break through and make sure I do what I can to go through those doors that weren’t open for me before.”

While much of the talk at his podium centered on his rags-to-riches story, Cruz was also all business as he prepares for Sunday’s big game against the Patriots.

Cruz was all smiles after Deion Sanders, a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and current analyst for the NFL Network, asked him if he smiles when he looks at tape of the Patriots’ secondary, one that  ranked 31st in the league in passing defense this season.

“A little bit. Just naturally when you see one of their defensive backs is a wide receiver and he’s going to be potentially covering you, you automatically just get excited,” Cruz said in reference to Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who has seen regular playing time in the secondary this season.

“You want to do your best to kind of exploit that, so obviously as a receiver and as a competitor in general, when you see a matchup you can exploit, you want to take advantage of it.”

Another matchup Cruz will try and come out on top of will be one with one of his former teammates.

James Ihedigbo, another UMass alum, will start this Sunday at safety for the Patriots. Cruz talked last week about how special it is for them to be going up against one another given where they came from.

“It was a tremendous ride,” Cruz said of his time at UMass. “We understand how much of a small school it is and how little guys get an opportunity to come out of that school.”

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at shewitt@student.umass and followed on Twitter @MDC_Hewitt.

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