Talanoa Hufanga and Drake Jackson came out during USC football’s game vs. Arizona
USC football came into the Week 2 matchup without two key defensive linemen. Now they may be down a safety.
Star defender Talanoa Hufanga had to be tended to on the field by trainers after he fell hard while making a tackle.
UPDATE: Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote is also out of the game
Trainers put Hufanga on a bike on the sideline while the broadcast reported he was still in the medical tent during USC’s ensuing offensive drive.
As if that wasn’t concerning enough, outside linebacker Drake Jackson was also feeling the effects of something and had to go back to the locker room.
Talanoa Hufanga and Drake Jackson are USC football’s most important players
Losing Hufanga for any stretch of time is a big problem for USC. He led the team in tackles against ASU and remains the player most likely for USC to produce an impact play.
He did just that on the first drive when he intercepted a tipped ball and set the offense up with great field position.
The Trojans went on to score a touchdown via the power running of Markese Stepp.
Chase Williams came in to replace Hufanga. He at least has plenty of experience and has served as a fill-in for Hufanga in the past.
Having Jackson unavailable is similarly costly for USC’s defensive front. He is the Trojans’ most ferocious pass rusher.
There really isn’t a like-for-like replacement for Jackson but Hunter Echols was the man to come in the game in his absence.
The Trojan defense lost nose tackle Brandon Pili to a broken finger last week and turned up to Tucson with starting defensive tackle Caleb Tremblay unavailable.
Those personnel misses won’t make it easy for the Trojans to improve after a bit of a shaky start in Week 1 against ASU.