USC star receiver Juju Smith-Schuster and Arizona cornerback Dane Cruikshank jawed back and forth for most of the first half on a blistering Saturday afternoon at Arizona Stadium. Smith-Schuster even picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he purposefully stepped over Cruikshank while the defender was on the ground.
But on the Trojans' first pass attempt of the second half, Cruikshank did something that crossed the line in Smith-Schuster's opinion. On a quick "smoke" screen Smith-Schuster was attempting to block for Darreus Rogers on the outside. Instead of trying to make a tackle or take on the block, Cruikshank dove at Smith-Schuster's legs.
"He took my legs out," Smith-Schuster said. "I was like, 'Wow. That's not a manly move.' So on the next play, thank god that coach called the play to go deep and I went on top and scored on him."
USC dialed up a deep ball and Smith-Schuster snatched the ball out of the air, ripping the ball from Cruikshank's hands before leaving him sitting on the turf as Smith-Schuster waltzed into the end zone with a sly look back over his shoulder at Cruikshank once he was in the end zone.
It was Smith-Schuster's third touchdown of a blowout USC won 48-14. He finished with nine catches for 132 yards, both season highs this year. He now has a three-game streak of 100+ yards receiving. USC has won all three games.
"It feels good to be on a winning streak and to win our first away game," Smith-Schuster said. "It shows that yes we can win away games too and it's not only at home."
Smith-Schuster injured his back trying to make a catch late in the third quarter and did not play again, but was in better spirits after the game.
"I'm feeling good. It's just my back has been bothering me for the past couple weeks. To finally go out there and play with my team felt awesome, but that last hit toward the end, it just shut my back down."
Watch JuJu Smith-Schuster, above, talk about his three-touchdown performance at Arizona and give an update on his health after leaving the game with back spasms.
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