DALLAS (FWAA) – USC linebacker Cameron Smith sparked the Trojans past undefeated and No. 3 Utah with three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown to break the game open just before halftime. Smith’s takeaways in a 42-24 win, plus a team-best nine tackles, earned him the AutoNation National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games the weekend of Oct. 24, as selected by the Football Writers Association on America.
Smith, a 6-2, 245-pound freshman from Roseville, Calif., had 112 return yards on his three interceptions, including the second one that he took into the Utah end zone from 54 yards out that gave USC at 28-14 lead 1:07 before halftime. His first pick and return of 41 yards set up USC’s game-tying touchdown early in the second quarter. He added a third return of 27 yards in the fourth quarter. The three interceptions were the most by a USC player since Jason Oliver had three in 1991 against Penn State.
Smith’s 62 tackles this season are the second-most in the nation among true freshmen. He currently leads USC in tackles and he could become the first true freshman to lead the Trojans in tackles in a season since records were first kept in 1954. Five of his nine tackles were unassisted on Saturday night.
2015 AutoNation FWAA Defensive Players of the Week
• Week of Sept. 5: Karl Joseph, West Virginia
• Week of Sept. 12: Kai Nacua, BYU
• Week of Sept. 19: RJ Williamson, Michigan State
• Week of Sept. 26: Jeremy Cash, Duke
• Week of Oct. 3: Eric Striker, Oklahoma
• Week of Oct. 10: Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
• Week of Oct. 17: Minkah Fitzpatrick and Eddie Jackson, Alabama
• Week of Oct. 24: Cameron Smith, USC