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No. 13 USC whips UCLA for seventh straight win

No. 13 USC whips UCLA for seventh straight win
Published On: Sun, Nov 20
Oct 12, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; DUPLICATE***UCLA Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr (11) ends up with the ball between his legs as he hits the turn after making a catch in the second quarter against the Cal Golden Bears at Rose Bowl. California Golden Bears linebacker Michael Barton (8)is left and UCLA Bruins wide receiver Jordan Payton (9) is right. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Thirteenth-ranked USC retained the Victory Bell and put itself in a position to play for the Pac-12 Conference championship with a 36-14 victory over UCLA in a crosstown rivalry game Saturday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Ronald Jones II gained 121 yards on 18 carries for USC (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12), which has won seven in a row since going 1-3 to start the season, including last week's win over then-No. 4 Washington.

Sam Darnold completed 25 of 36 passes for 267 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

"We had a couple early mistakes by our young quarterback, but I was really proud of him for how he reacted to making mistakes and how he came back in the second half," USC coach Clay Helton said.

Mike Fafaul completed 15 of 31 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns for UCLA (4-7, 2-6), which has lost five of six since star quarterback Josh Rosen went down with a shoulder injury.

Earlier in the day, Oregon upset No. 4 Utah in dramatic fashion, putting USC in the mix for the Pac-12 South Division title. The Trojans knew they had a path to the championship game with a win over UCLA and a Utah victory over Colorado next Saturday.

Each team scored on its opening possession. The Bruins went 70 yards on four plays. They picked up a first down on three running plays before popping a 56-yard touchdown pass from Fafaul to Jordan Lasley.

The Trojans needed nine plays to go 50 yards. The drive almost stalled when Kenny Young sacked Darnold for a loss of 10 yards and Darnold was then penalized for intentional grounding, but Jones eventually scored on a 1-yard run to tie it.

UCLA capitalized after Fabian Moreau returned an interception 32 yards to the USC 9-yard line early in the second quarter. Fafaul threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley to put the Bruins up 14-7, but Jones responded with a 60-yard touchdown run for the Trojans.

USC took the lead when Darnold fired a 41-yard touchdown pass to De'Quan Hampton. The Trojans had to settle for a six-point lead after Matt Boermeester missed the extra point attempt. They were on the move again later in the third quarter, but Darnold was intercepted when he threw an ill-advised pass into the end zone.

Boermeester made good later in the game. He started by making a 30-yard field goal in the final seconds to give the Trojans a 23-14 lead at the half.

Hampton's 6-yard touchdown reception put USC up 30-14 in the third quarter. Boermeester made two field goals in the fourth to extend the lead.

USC dominated the game in virtually every facet. The Trojans trounced the Bruins 527-266 in total yards. They had a 267-211 edge in passing yards and outgained UCLA 260-55 in rushing yards. Jalen Starks was held to 20 yards on six carries and Bolu Olorunfunmi had 20 yards on five carries.

"Well, they are a good defense, first of all," UCLA coach Jim Mora said. "We'll give them credit where credit is due. We were putting some new pieces in the puzzle on the offensive line. We just didn't make some plays that we should've made."

JuJu Smith Schuster had eight catches for 76 yards for USC. Hampton had three receptions for 51 yards, including two touchdowns.

Lasley had two catches for 63 yards for UCLA.

NOTES: While UCLA was honoring its seniors before the game, coach Jim Mora paid tribute to late Bruin Nick Pasquale by holding up a towel that read "Pac 36." Pasquale was fatally struck by a car while walking home from a friend's house in 2013. ... For the second year in a row, USC CB/WR Adoree' Jackson has been named one of four finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, which is presented annually to college football's most versatile player. Jackson is also a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy. ... USC leads the series 46-31-7. The Trojans handed UCLA a 40-21 loss last year. They have won 14 of the last 18 games in the series.

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