There are few things in sports more entertaining than a big man scoring a touchdown. USC football DL Stanley Ta'ufo'ou stole the show in the fourth quarter of the Trojans' convincing 66-14 win over Nevada. Freshman pass rusher Braylan Shelby got to Nevada quarterback Brendon Lewis and forced a fumble. The football fell right into the hands of 275-pound Ta'ufo'ou, who ran it back 23 uncontested yards to cap off a dominant performance. Head coach Lincoln Riley loved what he saw, celebrating the moment with his team on the sideline.
“When big people score, football's more fun,” Riley said after the game, per LA Times. Well said, Coach.
After starting 13 games last year, Stanley Ta'ufo'ou has a more limited role on USC's defense this season. The Trojans reloaded the defensive line through the transfer portal after a weak showing up front in 2022. Key additions like Bear Alexander and Jamil Muhammad had this group looking much better Saturday night. As a result, playing time is more competitive.
The redshirt senior had 5.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in the 2022 campaign, but he's never scored a touchdown before. “It's like a dream come true to get a touchdown for the defensive line,” Ta'ufo'ou said.
Albeit against a weaker opponent, USC football held up pretty well Saturday on the defensive front, showing Trojan fans the improvement they've been calling for. Nevada WR Spencer Curtis burned first-year starter Domani Jackson for a 73-yard completion to open the game, setting up an easy early touchdown. After that, however, USC settled in, holding Nevada scoreless on the next 10 drives.
Nevada's only other points came right after Ta'ufo'ou's moment, on another busted coverage for a 77-yard touchdown.