Cheer for UMass during Super Bowl XLVI!

What are the odds that two UMass Football alumni would end up playing one another in the Super Bowl? When you consider the raw talent and drive of James Ihedigbo ’07 and Victor Cruz ’10, you’d have to say the odds were pretty good. 

James Ihedigbo '07

Ihedigbo (#44) is a defensive back with the New England Patriots. He was signed in August 2011 after four seasons on special teams with the New York Jets. His passion on the field, along with the 69 tackles he completed during regular season, helped the Patriots to its 13-3 record and Superbowl bid.

An Amherst native and Sociology major at UMass, Ihedigbo was a team captain during his senior year. He played a major role in the Minutemen’s run for the NCAA Division I FCS Championship in 2006. The team defeated the University of Montana, but fell to Appalachia State in the Championship game.

Ihedigbo is also known for his humanitarian work. He founded the HOPE Africa Foundation in 2008 to provide educational resources to underserved communities in Africa and was recently named the Nigerian Healthcare Foundation Faces of Hope Humanitarian of the Year.

Victor Cruz '10

Cruz (#80), a wide receiver for the New York Giants, was sidelined by an injury during his first NFL season, but came back in 2011 with a total 82 receptions and nine touchdowns. You may recall his one-handed catch during the Giants vs. Seahawks game early in the season. His 1,536 receiving yards also set a record for the Giants’ franchise.

A stand-out player while at UMass, Cruz made the CAA All-Conference First Team in 2009 and was an All-American candidate in his senior year, graduating with a degree in Afro-American Studies.

Whichever team you want to win the Super Bowl – remember to cheer for UMass!

Read what others are saying about the Ihedigbo vs. Cruz match-up:

“Super Bowl an ad for UMass”
Boston Globe

Victor Cruz, James Ihedigbo Take UMass Bond With Them to Super Bowl XLVI

“UMass alums Cruz, Ihedigbo shining in NFL”
The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Standout symbols of a program on the rise
Boston Globe, 2.01.12

Giants’ Cruz takes full track from anonymity to limelight
CBS Sports, 1.31.12

Victor Cruz embracing Super Bowl spotlight
Daily Collegian, 2.01.12

Giants’ rising star Victor Cruz spotlights UMass football
WBUR, 2.02.12

Without Cruz's meteoric rise, Giants wouldn't be on Super stage
Sports Illustrated 2.02.12

Sweet James aims to please
ESPN Boston, 2.02.12