Ahead of an important rivalry contest against Notre Dame, USC has suddenly has a surprise injury sustained off the field to deal with.
Defensive tackle Josh Fatu is in the concussion protocol after being involved in a multi-car crash, per Joey Kaufman of the Orange County Register.
If Fatu is out against the Irish, it would be a significant loss for the Trojans — especially considering Notre Dame is fifth in the nation at 308 rushing yards per contest. Fatu, a 2016 junior college transfer, has served as a gap-plugging nose tackle, recording 27 tackles, 5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.
Freshman Marlon Tuipulotu, who had an impressive spring, will replace Fatu. Tuipulotu has recorded 2 tackles in 3 games this season.
In related news at the position, fifth-year senior Kenny Bigelow has moved into a player-coaching role, bringing his playing career to an end, per Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com. Bigelow was buried on the depth chart behind Fatu and Tuipulotu.
Also in Trojans injury news, linebacker Porter Gustin was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam and CT scan on Tuesday night to get an updated look at his torn biceps and fractured toe, per Kaufman. Gustin’s status for Saturday is to be determined.