LOS ANGELES (AP) — Optimism has been hard to come by at Southern California this season, but the play of defensive linemen Brandon Pili, Jay Tufele, Marlon Tuipulotu and Jacob Lichtenstein has been a bright spot.
The four have combined for 12 1/2 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks, with the second-year players looking like the difference-makers the Trojans have lacked up front for nearly a decade.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California trailed by 13 points in the second half, and the smallish Coliseum crowd grumbled at the prospect of an already shaky season slipping away entirely from this powerhouse program.
Right before the Trojans really got in trouble, they started making big plays. And when Jay Tufele slipped into the perfect spot and got his big arm up to block a field goal, USC's season was back on track.
Redshirt freshmen are becoming less common as more players contribute straight out of high school. They still can have an impact, though.
That's particularly true on the offensive and defensive lines, where players regularly need that extra year to gain the physical strength necessary for the college game.
Southern California defensive tackle Jay Tufele has shown this summer how much he's benefited from that time in the gym.