When Ravens fullback Kyle Juszczyk realized that the Ravens were playing the top-seeded New England Patriots in an AFC divisional-round playoff game Saturday at Gillette Stadium, the Harvard graduate knew he'd have to purchase a significant amount of tickets for his college friends.
"Yeah, a lot of tickets and hopefully I'll be getting reimbursed for at least some of them," Juszczyk said of his Harvard buddies. "These guys have good jobs, so they're good for it."
A former Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year and All-American, Juszczyk caught 19 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown this season while blocking for running back Justin Forsett as he gained a career-high 1,266 yards. In his second pro season, Juszczyk was named a Pro Bowl alternate.
Juszczyk said this game reminds him of when the Ravens played the Cleveland Browns, his hometown team, in September and he caught a touchdown.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Juszczyk, who majored in economics at Harvard. "It's always fun to play in front of people that you know."
Juszczyk knows he has his work cut out for him against Patriots linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower.
"Yeah, it's going to be a challenge," Juszczyk said. "Collins and Hightower are both very solid players and guys I'll have to deal with a lot. In the NFL, every week it's a new challenge."
The Ravens rushed for only 49 yards on 25 carries against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week in a 30-17 AFC wild-card win.
"We didn't run quite as well as we did at the end of our game against Cleveland [in Week 17]," Juszczyk said. "We did enough to keep them honest and enough to get the job done."