Honors pour in for Buckeyes DE J.T. Tuimoloau after breakout game at Penn State last Saturday

J.T. Tuimoloau OSU DE rushing passer vs. Penn State (courtesy 247 Sports)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For his efforts in Saturday’s 44-31 win at No. 13 Penn State, Ohio State defensive lineman JT Tuimoloau is the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and Bednarik Award Player of the Week. Additionally, Tuimoloau was also announced on Sunday as the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday.

Tuimoloau, a sophomore from Edgewood, Washington, stuffed the stat sheet on Saturday in a way that has rarely, if ever, been done by a defensive end. He finished with six tackles, three tackles for loss, including two sacks, two interceptions, one pass breakup, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. All told, Tuimoloau helped force four takeaways which led to 21 Ohio State points.

Tuimoloau’s big day started on Penn State’s first possession. He tipped a Sean Clifford pass near the line of scrimmage and the ball was intercepted by fellow DE Zach Harrison. One possession later, Tuimoloau intercepted a Clifford pass, leading to a Miyan Williams touchdown run three plays later.

With Ohio State leading 23-21 midway through the fourth quarter, Tuimoloau sacked Clifford and forced a fumble, which he recovered, leading to a Buckeye touchdown on the very next play. Later in the quarter, Tuimoloau intercepted a Clifford pass and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown to give Ohio State a 44-24 lead.

Through eight games, Tuimoloau has 15 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He’s 11th in the Big Ten in tackles for loss and sixth among defensive linemen. His four quarterback hurries are second on the team, just one behind Zach Harrison’s five.

The Buckeyes, who are 8-0 and ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll this week, head to Evanston, Ill. on Saturday for a noon (EDT) kickoff against Northwestern at Ryan Field. ABC will televise the game nationally.