Whereas offense creates soaring arias of innovation and talent (i.e. they do cool shit), defense exists purely to eradicate that. Offense is optimism, a belief in progress; defense is pessimism, a literal attempt to get those kids off your lawn. When you look back at the most indelible moments in college football history (Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary, Vince Young’s title-winning jaunt vs USC, the Kick-Six), they’re inevitably the story of a guy not getting tackled; there is no glamor in defensive football. But J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State’s sophomore defensive end, is trying to change that.
Despite strong performances from starrier names like quarterback CJ Stroud, running back TreVeyon Henderson and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., J.T. Tuimoloau was the catalyst for #2 Ohio State’s 44-31 demolition of #13 Penn State. In one of the most dominant and comprehensive performances ever from a defender, Tuimoloau racked up six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one tipped pass (which was then intercepted by a teammate) and two interceptions (one of which he converted into a pick-six). By doing so, he became the first guy ever to put up such a statline and just the third FBS player in the past 15 seasons to notch two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and a touchdown. Unsurprisingly, he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.