No. 21 USC knocked off by No. 17 UCLA, 38-28

Associated Press Published: November 17, 2012
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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Lane Kiffin already knew he'll return to Southern California next season before his Trojans lost for the third time in four games.

Only Kiffin is now coaching in a city where his Trojans are no longer on top.

Brett Hundley passed for 234 yards and a touchdown and rushed for two more scores as No. 17 UCLA beat No. 21 USC 38-28 Saturday, clinching the Pac-12 South title and emphatically snapping a five-game losing streak in their crosstown showdown.

Eric Kendricks blocked a punt and made a fourth-quarter interception for the Bruins (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12), who overcame intermittent second-half rain and USC's star-studded lineup with a steady effort.

A year after USC obliterated the Bruins 50-0 in a game that led to a coaching change in Westwood, UCLA punctuated its one-year revitalization under coach Jim Mora with its first win over the Trojans (7-4, 5-4) since 2006 — just their second in 14 years.

The football hierarchy in Los Angeles has flipped — and even Kiffin acknowledged it.

"I can't argue that," said Kiffin, who has been assured he'll return by athletic director Pat Haden. "When you lose the game, you can't argue. That's why they play the games, so congrats to them. Obviously, we're not thrilled about it, but we're going to get it fixed."

Matt Barkley passed for 301 yards and three touchdowns, but threw two interceptions and took a hard hit from Anthony Barr late in the Trojans' third loss in four games. USC was the preseason's No. 1 team, but will return to the postseason in a lower-tier bowl after next week's regular-season finale against Notre Dame.

"You wouldn't think we would lose this game with a senior quarterback versus a freshman," Kiffin said. "We're extremely disappointed with this season. We're too talented to have that many losses."

Johnathan Franklin rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns for UCLA, including a clutch 29-yard scoring run with 4:02 to play after USC trimmed its deficit to three points. The Bruins celebrated in the corner of the Rose Bowl and again with an impromptu dance-off in the locker room, even while Mora reminded them they've still got three games to play.

"It's a great moment, and I'm excited," said Mora, the winningest first-year coach in UCLA history. "I can't wait to hug my mom, shake my dad's hand and kiss my kids. I don't want to minimize it at all."

Shaquelle Evans had eight catches for 114 yards for UCLA, which clinched a spot in the Pac-12 title game in two weeks with its fifth consecutive win. The Bruins also played in that game last year, but only by default after finishing two games behind postseason-banned USC.

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