Southern California at UCLA

No. 15 USC rolls over rival UCLA 36-14 for 7th straight win

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
  •  

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Southern California and UCLA have been on divergent trajectories for nearly two months, so nobody in the chilly Rose Bowl crowd was terribly surprised when the Trojans charged right on through their faltering rivals Saturday night.

That didn't make the blowout victory any less sweet for USC, which coolly maintained its LA dominance for another year with a businesslike bashing of the Bruins.

Sam Darnold passed for 267 yards and hit De'Quan Hampton for two touchdowns, leading No. 15 USC past UCLA 36-14 in the Los Angeles rivals' 86th crosstown showdown.

Ronald Jones II rushed for 121 yards and two TDs for the surging Trojans (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12), who won their seventh straight game after a dismal start to the season. USC claimed the Victory Bell for the second consecutive year, overcoming Darnold's two early interceptions and eventually taking apart UCLA's solid defense for 527 total yards.

''Any time you beat a rival team like this, it's always fun,'' USC linebacker Michael Hutchings said. ''Winning like this, it's great for our team morale.''

The Trojans experienced another victory several hours earlier when they huddled around laptops in the team hotel to watch Utah's loss to Oregon, which kept USC in the Pac-12 South race.

A few hours after USC finishes the regular season next Saturday against Notre Dame, the Trojans would claim the division title if the Utes beat No. 12 Colorado, which lost at USC last month.

''We needed one of those teams to lose to stay alive, and Oregon came through for us,'' USC coach Clay Helton said. ''We still need a little help, but now we've set our mark at 7-2.''

Jordan Lasley caught two first-half touchdown passes from Mike Fafaul for UCLA (4-7, 2-6). After five losses in their last six games, the Bruins are assured their first losing season in coach Jim Mora's half-decade in charge.

Ten years after UCLA stunned USC 13-9 and knocked Pete Carroll's team out of the national title race, Helton's Trojans calmly beat their rivals for the 14th time in 18 meetings.

With both teams wearing their home jerseys in Arroyo Seco, USC extended its longest overall winning streak since Carroll's last conference championship season in 2008.

Helton also improved to 2-0 in the crosstown showdown: He got the permanent job last year two days after the Trojans' 40-21 victory over the Bruins and Mora, who had won his first three against USC.

''It was just a really tough and humbling night,'' Mora said after honoring his seniors before the game. ''Regardless of how this year has gone, those young men have done some tremendous things here. This was the first game (all season) that we've kind of not been in. That's disappointing.''

USC went through the UCLA defense for 326 yards in the first half, just 30 yards shy of the Bruins' average yield for entire games this season. The Trojans eventually held the ball for 43:47 and ran 95 plays to UCLA's 51.

Darnold provided his usual cocktail of brilliance and exciting flaws, throwing two interceptions in the first half amid a series of stunning athletic runs and throws. The redshirt freshman hasn't lost since his debut start at Utah in September, leading the Trojans back into contention with his freewheeling skills.

But the Bruins held an early 14-7 lead. Lasley took a mid-range pass 56 yards for a score in the opening moments, and he beat Adoree Jackson in 1-on-1 coverage early in the second quarter, right after Fabian Moreau returned Darnold's first interception inside the USC 10.

''When we were down 14-7, it was the same atmosphere,'' Darnold said. ''Guys weren't going to give up. It's really a shift in culture that you can sense now.''

TURNING POINT

USC faced a deficit after the first quarter for the first time since its winning streak began, but Jones fixed that with his second TD run, bursting around the end for a spectacular 60-yard score. Hampton then made his first career TD catch with an exceptional 31-yard grab by the seldom-used sophomore.

THE TAKEAWAY

UCLA: The Bruins have endured a miserable second half after quarterback Josh Rosen's season-ending injuries, but the defense has fought in every game. The overmatched offense kept it close early, but a thorough offseason recalibration seems vital.

USC: The Trojans just keep getting more dangerous, even if it might be too late to win the Pac-12 South. Along with Jones' latest big game, Darnold and Hampton made key plays against a defense that had allowed only eight TD catches all season. And it's no surprise that Darnold, the unflappable Orange County native, easily handled the road pressure in his first LA rivalry matchup.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Few teams are rolling like the Trojans. USC is likely to remain the nation's highest-ranked team with three losses, and it could move up a couple of spots after defeats for No. 10 West Virginia and No. 11 Utah.

UP NEXT

UCLA: A trip to Berkeley for a rather drab season finale against California.

USC: The famed intersectional rivalry game with Notre Dame at the Coliseum on Saturday to wrap up the regular season.

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre

Related Video

 
Scoreboard
Southern California #13  (8-3) «7167636
UCLA  (4-7)770014
Players of the Game
Trojans

R. Jones II
Rush 18
Yds 121
Avg 6.7
TD 2
Bruins

M. Fafaul
Att 31
Comp 15
Yds 181
TD 2
Scoring Summary
UCLAJordan Lasley 56 yd pass from Mike Fafaul (JJ Molson kick)
USCRonald Jones II 1 yd run (Matt Boermeester kick)
UCLAJordan Lasley 7 yd pass from Mike Fafaul (JJ Molson kick)
USCRonald Jones II 60 yd run (Matt Boermeester kick)
USCDe'Quan Hampton 31 yd pass from Sam Darnold (missed kick)
USCMatt Boermeester 30 yd FG
USCDe'Quan Hampton 6 yd pass from Sam Darnold (Matt Boermeester kick)
USCMatt Boermeester 32 yd FG
USCMatt Boermeester 25 yd FG
 
Team Stats
 USCUCLA
First Downs3110
Third Down Efficiency12-212-11
Fourth Down Efficiency2-20-1
Plays-Net Yards95-52751-266
Rushes-Yds58-26019-55
Passing Yds267211
Kick Return Yds46116
Punt Return Yds160
Passes25-37-216-32-0
Punts2-767-280
Fumbles-Lost2-02-0
Penalties-Yds7-393-44
Time of Poss.43:4716:13
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
USC: Ronald Jones II 18-121, Justin Davis 15-48, Sam Darnold 9-27, Aca'Cedric Ware 6-23, James Toland IV 5-20, Adoree' Jackson 1-17, Deontay Burnett 1-4, JuJu Smith-Schuster 1-4, Team 1--1, Max Browne 1--3
UCLA: Jalen Starks 6-20, Bolu Olorunfunmi 5-20, Nate Starks 3-11, Soso Jamabo 2-5, Darren Andrews 1-1, Mike Fafaul 1-0, Team 1--2
PASSING
USC: Sam Darnold 25-36-267-2, Team 0-1-0-0
UCLA: Mike Fafaul 15-31-181-0, Jordan Lasley 1-1-30-0
RECEIVING
USC: JuJu Smith-Schuster 8-76, De'Quan Hampton 3-51, Darreus Rogers 3-34, Deontay Burnett 3-28, Daniel Imatorbhebhe 2-27, Isaac Whitney 1-17, Jalen Greene 1-12, Justin Davis 1-8, Taylor McNamara 1-8, Ronald Jones II 1-5, Aca'Cedric Ware 1-1
UCLA: Darren Andrews 6-62, Caleb Wilson 4-38, Jordan Lasley 2-63, Brandon Stephens 1-30, Austin Roberts 1-10, Theo Howard 1-9, Nate Starks 1--1
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Southern California2nd Pac-12 South7-210-3
UCLA4th Pac-12 South2-74-8

CBSSports Shop

 
Top 25 Games
LOU 10 Final
HOU 36
UNLV 25 Final
BSU 42
OHST 17 Final
MIST 16
WISC 49 Final
PUR 20
MD 7 Final
NEB 28
OKST 31 Final
TCU 6
UTSA 10 Final
TAMU 23
FLA 16 Final
LSU 10
ORE 30 Final
UTAH 28
IND 10 Final
MICH 20
FSU 45 Final
SYR 14
MIZZ 37 Final
TENN 63
WSU 24 Final
COLO 38
BUFF 0 Final
WMU 38
STAN 45 Final
CAL 31
CLEM 35 Final
WAKE 13
CHAT 3 Final
BAMA 31
AAMU 0 Final
AUB 55
AZST 18 Final
WASH 44
PSU 39 Final
RUT 0
OKLA 56 Final
WVU 28