USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley was recently asked about Mike Linebacker Tuasivi Nomura, and not only was he very complimentary of his performance, but had quite the story when it came to his toughness.
Riley revealed that earlier in the season, Nomura broke his finger during a game to the point where the bone was sticking out of his finger, and he stayed in the game for three more plays before telling anybody. Even better--he had two tackles on those three plays. Listed to the full clip of what Riley had to say here.
This story is pretty incredible. To be able to play through this type of injury is already legendary. To make two tackles in the three plays, despite dealing with this type of break, is even beyond extraordinary. Again, this was a compound fracture that led to his bone sticking out...Nomura may not have been a five-star recruit coming out of high school, but he sure is about as tough as it gets.
He may only have 15 tackles on the year and half of a tackle for loss, but he clearly brings a strong element of culture to this program. SC needed physicality badly, and they needed this level of griminess within the team. Sure enough, they've proven to be building it after this news comes out.
The best part is that USC Football's defense already did seem to be building a tougher culture this year even before this story came out.
USC Football gave up 31.8 points per game last year, and is giving up 22.14 points per game this year. They went from being tied from 103rd in the country in that statistic last year, to No. 41. Not to mention, this defense also always bears down when it matters most. They're top five in America in red zone defense, holding opponents to just a 66.7% red zone percentage.
They're also tied for third in college football with three defensive touchdowns, and tied for second with 12 interceptions gained. They're tied for eighth in sacks per game (3.43), and will look to continue setting the tone in games as they come out of the bye week. With players like Nomura, who don't feel pain, it makes it a lot easier.