New York Giants rookie offensive lineman Justin Pugh was getting psyched to take the field. Wide receiver Ramses Barden had just drawn a pass interference flag in the endzone on Colts defensive back Delano Howell. That meant that the ball would be placed at the 1-yard line and Pugh would get to enter the game as part of New York's "jumbo" goal line package.
Referee Ed Hochuli ruined the moment, though, by announcing that the flag was being picked up and that there was no pass interference penalty. What a bummer that must have been for Pugh."
"Yeah, exactly," said the rookie, "It was funny because I thought, ‘Oh my god, I'm in here with the ones, we're going to get a touchdown, they're going to run right to my side,' and all of a sudden you have all these things going on in your mind and they wave off the flag and I've got to come back off the field. I'm sitting there waiting for the refs to get done so I can report my number eligible, but it didn't work out."
Pugh did eventually enter the game in the second quarter with the rest of New York's backups. It was Pugh's first ever NFL game because he missed last week's win over Pittsburgh with a concussion.
"I wanted to get out there and play," said Pugh about his eagerness to hit the field, "Everyone practices so they can play in a game. I was happy to get in there and take the opportunities I had and do some good things. I'm excited to get out there next weekend and improve."
Even though Pugh didn't get to play with the first team offense, he still learned plenty during his first preseason game.
"I had some good plays, I had some not-so-good plays that I wish I could get back," said Pugh, "But I think overall, definitely learning from this, I'll be able to get better next week. I'm just excited to get out there and practice and correct some of the mistakes I had."
Drafted out of Syracuse in the first round of the 2013 draft, the Giants picked Pugh in part because of his versatility. He played multiple positions along the line in college and will be expected to be just as flexible early on in his pro career.
"Whatever role they want, it's a good spot for me," said Pugh, "Wherever they want me, as long as I can get out there and play and contribute and help us win, I'll be happy doing that. I think some of the stuff I was able to learn tonight will definitely help me out."