Pugh's college teammate will prove Giants' biggest challenge

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Giants left guard Justin Pugh knows exactly what he has to do Sunday against New England Patriots pass rusher Chandler Jones.

He has since college.

The rivalry between he and Jones go back to their Syracuse days, when Pugh and the 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive faced off end every day in practice.

''It'll be fun going up against him because I went up against him for four years in college,'' Pugh said. ''We had some battles. I'm looking forward to the challenge.''

That was a different time, where Pugh and Jones spoke of future draft positions, each promising to become first-round picks.

Jones wound up as the Pats' first-round pick in 2012. Pugh went to the Giants in the first round the following year.

''He went first and he went No. 21. I had to top him a little bit,'' said Pugh, who the Giants picked at No. 19.

The conversation Sunday promises to be far different. Pugh and fellow first-rounder, rookie Ereck Flowers, form the left side of an offensive line that will try to keep Jones from adding to his team-leading 9 1/2 sacks. He has three multiple-sack games this year.

The 8-0 Patriots have 27 sacks from nine players, good for the fourth-best pressure defense in the league. The diversified pass rush stands as a major reason the Pats enter MetLife Stadium as an undefeated squad looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

The 6-4, 301-pound Pugh had to overcome dehydration during the week to get this chance. He lost a significant amount of fluid in the 80-degree heat and 90-percent humidity at Tampa Bay last week. He also had symptoms the medical staff suspected was a concussion after the 32-18 victory.

Pugh sat out Wednesday's practice and took only limited work Thursday. He returned to full practice Friday, and is listed as probable.

''It was scary,'' Pugh said. ''You really don't know what's going on. I'm 100 percent now. I just have to make sure I'm more careful, make sure I'm properly hydrated.''

His biggest problem this week at cool MetLife Stadium will involve the constantly changing defensive fronts the Pats have baffled opponents with this year. Keeping quarterback Eli Manning's uniform clean as the offense tries to answer each of Tom Brady's forays will be vital in keeping the score manageable. To do that, Pugh and Flowers will have to neutralize his old college teammate.

He said he expects a busy day. But the rewards will be worth the effort.

''If we want to get to where we want to go, we're going to have to go through teams like the Patriots,'' he said.

NOTES: Sunday's game features the NFL's two top-scoring kickers, Stephen Gostkowski and Josh Brown. Both are 19 of 19 in field goals this year, though Gostkowski has the longer streak dating back to last season, 26 to 23. Gostkowski leads all scorers with 88 points. Brown, this week's Special Teams Player of the Week for his four-field goal effort against Tampa Bay, has 81. ... LB Jonathan Casillas, a Patriot last season, said beating the Giants was not a big subject in Bill Belichick's locker room, but only because the teams were not scheduled to play each other. This year, he said it is probably a different story. ''(Belichick) is a prideful guy,'' he said. ''They've been in the Super Bowl six times, and they've had two losses. And we all know who those two losses are against. We all know as men that sticks in your mind. He's probably going to downplay it, but in the back of his mind ...'' Coach Tom Coughlin said CB Prince Amukamara, ruled out of his fifth straight game with a strained pectoral muscle, is progressing, but has not been medically cleared for practice yet. ... WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Larry Donnell (neck), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), and LB Uani `Unga (neck) are also out.