Tuli Tuipulotu earns Defensive Player of the Week honor from Pac-12
After being nearly unblockable against Washington State, USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu was voted the Pac-12 Defensive Player and Defensive Lineman of the Week.
The league announced its weekly performance awards on Monday, selecting Tuipulotu as its top defensive lineman for the second time this season. It’s the first Defensive POTW honor for a USC defender since Talanoa Hufanga was selected for his Week 6 performance in 2020.
#Pac12FB Defensive Player and Defensive Lineman of the Week, presented by @Nextiva: Tuli Tuipulotu ✌️
Full release ➡️ https://t.co/yeUc4bDvWQ#FightOn | @uscfb pic.twitter.com/VhioyJrgG8
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) October 10, 2022
Tuipulotu had three sacks and four TFLs in a 30-14 win over Washington State.
Through six games, he has seven sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. In both instances, they’re career marks. Last season, USC’s leading TFL-getter collected eight. Tuipulotu had 7.5 in 12 games. He led the defense with 5.5 sacks in 2021.
“You get to the point where you just think he’s going to make a play and you look at the call sheet and don’t want to get in his way,” said defensive coordinator Alex Grinch after Saturday’s win.
USC will need him to continue making plays as its toughest test yet arrives on Saturday in the form of Utah. The 20th-ranked Utes are probably dealing with a bit of a bruised ego heading into a top-25 matchup in Salt Lake City. They were hoping to contend for a spot in this year’s College Football Playoff, but a loss to UCLA on Saturday probably ended that dream.
The Trojans are still alive in that specific chase, though, and a win over the Utes on the road would be quite the step toward making that dream a reality. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. PT on FOX.