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Ex-Cat Juron Criner makes two long TD catches in preseason game

Juron Criner

Juron Criner scores his first touchdown of the game, despite interference from Lions cornerback Alphonso Smith. Photo by Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

We know former Arizona Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles is opening eyes in the preseason. His favorite college target is earning some notice, too.

Fifth-round pick Juron Criner made two highlight touchdown catches to help the Oakland Raiders defeat the Detroit Lions 31-20 in a preseason game Saturday night.

The first one — a 39-yarder in which Criner came back for an underthrown ball and reached over cornerback Alphonso Smith — was reminiscent of the touchdown catch he made last season, when he grabbed a ball behind the helmet of UCLA’s Aaron Hester (see photo below).

Criner going up and getting the ball … yeah, Arizona fans saw that plenty over the past few years. He is the school’s career leader in touchdown receptions with 32.

“You have to have that instinct — when the ball is in the air it belongs to me and it is all about making the 50/50 plays,” Criner told reporters after the game. “I was just blessed enough to come down with that one.”

The second one covered 76 yards, as quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw on the run to his right and found Criner crossing the field. Criner made a fingertip catch and then headed to paydirt.

“He put the right amount of touch on it and I just barely got to it,” Criner said.

Here is a link to video of the first touchdown catch (which Criner made even though Smith was flagged for interference on the play).

And here is video of the second scoring grab.

Those were Criner’s only two catches of the game. He has four catches for 146 yards in three preseason games.

Juron Criner

Juron Criner makes a touchdown catch vs. UCLA’s Aaron Hester last season. Photo by Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

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