USC receiver Juju Smith-Schuster turned in another stellar performance Saturday in a 38-30 win against Arizona, only this time he did it with a broken hand.
Smith-Schuster suffered the broken hand during last week’s win against Cal and had surgery last Monday. However, coach Clay Helton never ruled his star receiver out for this week’s game as improbable as his appearance might have seemed.
“I knew he was gonna play when he called me right after surgery,” USC quarterback Cody Kessler said. “Nobody was gonna talk him out of it.”
Smith-Schuster finished the game with eight catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. It was his sixth 100-yard receiving game this season and he helped spark an offense that struggled early against the Wildcats.
Smith-Schuster said all of his catches were made with his fingertips because his palm couldn’t grip the ball due to the plate and screws that had been inserted during surgery. He missed the week of practice, which likely led to him succumbing to cramps in the third quarter. Still, it was as gutty of a performance as USC could have asked out of its star player.
“I’ve never in my life been associated with more of a warrior,” Helton said.
The win allowed USC to keep pace with Utah, which still holds a one-game lead over the Trojans in the Pac-12 South. The Trojans need to win out and the Utes need to lose to have a chance to win the South Division and play for a Pac-12 title.
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