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Giants' Cruz has breakthrough night against Jets

The Giants' Victor Cruz stiff-arms the Jets' Dwight

The Giants' Victor Cruz stiff-arms the Jets' Dwight Lowery. (Aug. 16, 2010) Credit: AP

Nothing seemed too big for little Victor Cruz on Monday night. Not the stadium, not the rivalry, not the network lights. Well, almost nothing. There was one moment that put the rookie receiver on his heels just a bit.

Hey Victor, someone asked him, did you see that LeBron James tweeted about you?

"Did he really?" Cruz said, trying to process the sports and social media magnitude of the shoutout. Chosen by the Chosen One. Crowned by the King.

"Wow," he said. "That's crazy."

Cruz went crazy on the field against the Jets, catching six passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the Giants' 31-16 preseason win. His night probably would have been majestic had it ended with his first touchdown reception, a one-handed grab on a deep route down the left sideline in which he caught the ball in his left hand while pushing away cornerback Dwight Lowery with his right. It was multitasking at its finest and after he caught the ball, he ran the rest of the 64 yards to give the Giants the lead for good, 17-16, with 2:29 left in the third quarter.

"I didn't think I was going to get it because the DB was right on me," Cruz said. "But the ball came down and I kind of stuck my hand out late and it stuck and I just tucked it in and ran."

Cruz then added a 34-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Jim Sorgi early in the fourth quarter before capping his night with a 5-yard touchdown grab from Rhett Bomar.

"He doesn't say too much, but he got pumped up and jacked up after he caught that first one and I think it just snowballed from there," Sorgi said. "He was hot tonight, he was getting open, he was making those guys look like they couldn't cover him, and that's exactly what happened."

Sorgi, who came in behind Eli Manning and completed 8 of 15 passes for 146 yards, said despite making those plays, Cruz was not in typical wide receiver "throw-me-the-ball" mode. At least not verbally.

"He's not going to say, 'Hey, throw it my way!' " Sorgi said, referring to Cruz's rookie status. "But he knows that he makes plays like that and the ball is going to start coming his way more often than not."

It was the second time in a week that Cruz found himself at the center of attention. At training camp in Albany last Wednesday, when several of the Giants' top receivers were out with nagging injuries, Tom Coughlin noted the rookie's several impressive catches in the practice.

"Victor Cruz!" Coughlin said excitedly. "What do we need anybody for? We've got Victor Cruz!"

On Monday night, Coughlin was only too happy to continue his glowing review of Cruz's work.

"Justice has been served," he said. "He's an every-day guy. He does everything. He's on special teams. He's on scout teams. But he emerged during the week as making some spectacular catches . . . He had a good game and I'm glad for him that he did. Real good guy."

LeBron couldn't have tweeted it better.

New York Sports