Simmons' huge night in Colorado

Senior defensive lineman Delvon Simmons helped spark a slow-starting Trojan defense at Folsom Field.

BOULDER, Colo. – The welt on Delvon Simmons’ right arm might linger for weeks. He probably won’t mind.

The senior defensive tackle earned the bruise as a sort of badge of honor when he blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter of USC’s 27-24 victory at Colorado. On a night where the Trojans could point to several key plays that helped them come back from a 14-point deficit and avert a big upset, Simmons’ block was big, possibly as big as the fumble he forced in the third quarter that clearly swung momentum in the Trojans’ favor.

“That was me,” Simmons said, fondly recalling his handiwork after the game had ended.

Actually, Simmons credited his teammates with opening up room for him to make the play. But he was asked by reporters if it was he who had swatted the kick, which would have tied the game at 20 apiece, after USC interim coach Clay Helton said he was uncertain whether Simmons or Adoree’ Jackson got it. But he declared that both players came charging off the edge of the line, “like lightning.” Simmons’ explanation was a bit more technical.

“We ran the same play as we ran the first time they attempted a field goal,” Simmons said. “And this time we switched sides, but they didn’t flip the offensive linemen, and that lineman didn’t know what was going on. I knew it was going to happen, I knew it was going to come, and (linebacker) Jabari (Ruffin) got a great mug on the tackle, which allowed me to come free. That’s how it happened.”

“I give credit to all the other guys too.”

Said Helton: “What a huge play in the game. What a huge play.”

At Simmons’ urging, Jackson scooped up the loose ball and returned it to Colorado’s 36-yard line. On the next play, USC quarterback Cody Kessler hit Juju Smith-Schuster for a 36-yard score, propping the Trojans up by 10 points with 13 minutes, 55 seconds to go.

As for Simmons’ forced fumble, it came in the third quarter after USC had pulled to within four points. He stripped Colorado running back Christian Powell on the play, setting up the offense inside Buffs territory.

“Before that I was thinking we have to make something big happen and we need a momentum swing,” Simmons said.

Simmons finished the night with two tackles for a loss, including a fourth quarter 7-yard sack that put Colorado in third-and-14. The Texas Tech transfer has made many big plays this season, including a forced fumble against Arizona State and a couple of sacks and a pass deflection in the win over Utah. On Saturday, USC needed his contributions more than ever.

“We all got together and talked about it,” Simmons said. “The first half was poor, we weren’t playing like we should have been playing. We listed to coach Helton saying, ‘Fight On,’ and we went out there and executed.”

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Patrick Ridgell is a special contributor to USCFootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @PatrickRidgell.


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