Pullman, WA – Brett Hundley tossed a trio of touchdown passes on Saturday, as No. 17 UCLA downed Washington State, 44-36, in a Pac-12 tilt at Martin Stadium.
Hundley completed 18-of-21 passes for 261 yards with an interception. Johnathan Franklin rushed for 66 yards on 19 carries and added 45 yards and a score on four catches for the Bruins (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12), who control their own destiny in the South Division of the Pac-12 heading into a showdown with USC next Saturday.
The Trojans, who disposed of Arizona State earlier on Saturday, trail the Bruins by one-half game in the conference.
Connor Halliday finished 26-of-43 for 330 yards, five touchdowns and one interception for the Cougars (2-7, 0-6), who were playing without star receiver Marquess Wilson. He left the team following his suspension earlier in the week.
Dominique Williams hauled in seven passes for 108 yards and a pair of scores in place of Wilson, but the Cougars lost their seventh straight game.
Washington State moved deep into UCLA territory on the game's opening possession, but Andrew Furney's 39-yard field goal attempt was blocked and Sheldon Price scooped up the loose ball and scampered 68 yards into the end zone for a 7-0 UCLA lead.
After a UCLA fumble gave possession back to the Cougars late in the first, Washington State converted a 4th-and-4 from the UCLA 38 before Halliday hit Williams in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown pass to knot the game with less than a minute left.
UCLA turned the ball over on downs on its next touch, as Franklin was stuffed on 4th-and-1 from the Washington State 10, but the Bruins scored touchdowns on their next three possessions to take control.
UCLA forced Washington State to punt on the ensuing possession before Hundley led his squad 70 yards in just five plays, culminating in a 16-yard TD strike to Franklin, who stretched the ball just across the goal line and inside of the pylon to give UCLA a 14-7 edge.
The Cougars fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the visitors quickly capitalized as Hundley found Joseph Fauria four plays later for a 9-yard touchdown pass and a 21-7 lead.
Anthony Barr sacked Halliday in the end zone on the second play of the Cougars' ensuing possession to press the margin to 23-7.
Kenneth Walker then returned the free kick 40 yards into Washington State territory and two plays later, Hundley hit Devin Fuller for a 10-yard touchdown toss to extend the lead to 30-7 with 6:40 left until halftime.
The Bruins then made it a 37-7 contest late in the first half, as Halliday was sacked by Cassius Marsh, who knocked the ball loose. Eric Kendricks picked up the fumble and carried it 40 yards to the end zone for a 30-point UCLA lead heading into the break.
UCLA punted on the opening drive of the second half before the Cougars went 91 yards in 10 plays to pull within 37-14, as Halliday converted a 4th-and-6 with a 30-yard toss to Williams to the UCLA 5 before finishing off the drive with a 7-yard TD strike to Brett Bartolone.
The Bruins wasted little time responding, as Franklin accounted for 41 yards on a 7-play, 74-yard drive that Jordon James capped with a 2-yard touchdown rush to restore UCLA's 30-point edge.
Washington State countered with a scoring march of its own when Halliday hit Marcus Mason for a 4-yard touchdown to put the finishing touches on a 7-play, 85-yard drive. That brought the Cougars within 44-21 with less than a minute left in the third.
After the team's exchanged punts early in the fourth, the Cougars made it a two-score game, as Halliday found Williams in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass to trim the deficit to 44-28 with 6:25 remaining.
UCLA fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give the ball back to Washington State, but Halliday was intercepted in the end zone two plays later.
The Cougars forced a UCLA punt on the next possession before Halliday completed all five of his passes on a 5-play, 80-yard march, which he capped with a 3-yard touchdown strike to Kristoff Williams.
Halliday then hit Dominique Williams on the two-point conversion to make it a one-score game, but Jordan Payton secured the ensuing onside kick as the Bruins escaped with the victory.
Washington State has not beaten a ranked team in its last 21 attempts, with its last win over a ranked team coming at No. 16 Oregon in 2006, 34-23 ... UCLA's eight wins are the most victories in a season for the school since 2005 ... Washington State outgained UCLA 526-333.