Quick Hits: No. 17 UCLA 44, Washington State 36

By Chris Huston | College Football Writer

UCLA WON: Brett Hundley completed 18 of 21 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 17 UCLA (8-2) to a 44-36 win over Washington State (2-8) in Pullman on Saturday night. The Bruins jumped out to a 44-14 lead and then held off a furious Cougar comeback to set up a Pac-12 South showdown with USC next week. UCLA disrupted WSU in the first half, blocking a field goal (returned for a touchdown) and two punts, while logging a safety and returning a fumble for a touchdown. WSU's scrappy defense held UCLA to just 72 rushing yards and forced three Bruin turnovers. Connor Halladay threw for 330 yards and five touchdowns for WSU and got 123 receiving yards from Bobby Ratliff. The game was overshadowed somewhat by WSU star wideout Marquess Wilson, who quit the team early Saturday and then released a letter publicly accusing Cougars coach Mike Leach of verbal abuse.

WHEN UCLA WON: UCLA defensive tackle Cassius Marsh sacked Connor Halladay late in the second quarter, stripping him of the ball in the process. Linebacker Eric Kendricks scooped the ball up and scored from 40 yards out for a back-breaking score just before the half. The Bruins went into the lockerroom up 30 points and that was enough to stave off the late Cougar rally.

WHY UCLA WON: WSU's first-half effort was a comedy of errors as the hapless Cougars gave the game away to the Bruins. UCLA capitalized on mistake-after-mistake by the Cougars, as Hundley completed his first 10 passes, including three second-quarter touchdown tosses.

WHAT UCLA WON: With eight wins under their belt, the Bruins have assured themselves of their best season since 2005, quite an accomplishment for first-year head coach Jim Mora, Jr. More importantly, UCLA is in position to win the Pac-12 South title by beating USC next Saturday in the Rose Bowl.

WHAT WSU LOST: With the Marquess Wilson fiasco hanging over the program, the Cougars made things worse by playing sloppy, uninspired football in the first half. Though WSU did mount a valiant comeback, it could be that the once-promising Mike Leach era in the Palouse is in peril.

 
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