After intercepting Arizona quarterback Nick Foles twice, junior safety T.J. McDonald was named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week.
McDonald also had six tackles and recovered an onside kick to preserve USC’s 48-41 victory over Arizona on Saturday.
McDonald, who was named a team captain this season, has earned a reputation as a hard-hitting, physically imposing defensive presence.
One area of concern for the USC defense heading into its matchup with Arizona was its inability to force turnovers. The Trojans defense ranked last in the Pac-12 with a turnover margin of minus-six.
Coming into the game, Foles had attempted 210 passes without throwing an interception.
The Lott IMPACT Trophy, named after Pro Football Hall of Fame member Ronnie Lott, is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The award is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott personified during his career: integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.
Lott, who played for USC and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002, is largely considered one of the best defensive college football players of all time.
McDonald also has family ties to Trojan football.
His father, Tim McDonald, was a two-time All-American at USC in 1985 and 1986 and a team captain.
He was named MVP of the 1985 team, which won the Rose Bowl. After USC, McDonald went on to have a successful 13-year career in the NFL.
On Monday, junior quarterback Matt Barkley received yet another accolade when he was named the Pac-12 Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week.
This is Barkley’s second Pac-12 Offense Player of the Week honor for Barkley this season.
After throwing for 324 yards and five touchdowns, with no interceptions, against Syracuse on Sept. 17, he received the honor as well.
It comes just days after his record-breaking 468 passing yards and five touchdowns (four passing and one rushing) helped pace the Trojans (4-1, 2-1) to a win over the Wildcats heading in to the bye week.
On the afternoon, Barkley also completed 32-of-39 passes and connected with sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods for a career-long 82-yard touchdown pass, the longest completion by USC since 2001.
USC has now won the Pac-12 Offense Player of the Week Award three times through the first five weeks, as Woods received the top honor following his 17-catch afternoon in week one against Minnesota.
In 2005, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and LenDale White combined to win the award a school-record five times.
Bush also remains the last Trojan to be named conference player of the week three times in a season.
Heading into the bye week, Barkley is fifth in the country in both passing yards (1,587) and touchdowns (15).