Jayron Hosley intercepted 12 passes during his college career at Virginia Tech, but he never ran one back longer than 42 yards, nor did he score a touchdown.
With his first pick in the NFL, the Giants' third-round draft choice set new personal standards in both of those statistical categories.
Late in the second quarter of the Giants' preseason game against the Jets Saturday night, Hosley intercepted a Mark Sanchez pass and returned it 77 yards for the first touchdown of the game. It was the biggest play in the Giants' 26-3 rout of the Jets in the MetLife Bowl.
"It was an all-around good play, an 11-man machine," Hosley said. "Good pressure up front, which allowed me to stick to my man. The quarterback threw it when he didn't want to. Good pressure from the D-line, like I said. Just going out there and doing my job, that was it."
"It was a very nice play," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He stepped in front of the receiver in the flat, and he certainly does have the speed once he caught the ball to run down the sideline and score. We were all cheering for him."
Perhaps most significantly, Hosley excelled while playing the nickel corner. He always played on the outside at Virginia Tech. The Giants have taught him to play the slot in an effort to get him on the field more often. Hosley is starting to think it's the perfect spot for him.
"I think with the right coaching, and the right guys around you, it's possible," he said. "I definitely have that, and it's been making sense to me."
The Jets trailed, 6-0, and faced a third-and-10 at the Giants' 24-yard line with 2:16 remaining in the half when Sanchez threw to Patrick Turner, who was cutting left to right. Hosley stepped in front of Turner, grabbed the ball and seemed to be alone on the field until Osi Umenyiora escorted him the last 10 yards into the end zone.
"The ball was going to him, it wasn't going to me," Hosley said. "I saw it, and I went for it, just being a DB, and going to jump it. That's what happened, and it worked out well for me."
The only negative for Hosley was that he wore a protective boot on his right foot after the game. He will be examined on Sunday.