Pasadena, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Brett Hundley settled in after an early blunder and finished with three passing touchdowns and another on the ground to lead No. 11 UCLA to a 38-20 victory over No. 24 Southern California on Saturday.
Hundley threw for 326 yards on 22-of-31 passing after tossing an interception on his first pass of the game and for the Bruins (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12), who have won three straight games against the rival Trojans.
"We are building something special here," UCLA head coach Jim Mora said. "It's not done yet, it's not close to being finished, but we are moving in the right direction."
Paul Perkins rushed for a game-high 93 yards and a score on 24 carries, Thomas Duarte hauled in two passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and Devin Lucien and Eldridge Massington each added receiving scores in the win.
UCLA can now move on to the Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon with a win over Stanford next Friday.
Cody Kessler, who compiled 771 yards and nine touchdowns in his two previous games, was limited to just 214 passing yards and a touchdown with an interception on a 22-of-34 completion rate.
Javorious Allen ran for 60 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and Justin Davis made a TD catch for the Trojans (7-4, 6-3), who were coming off a 38-30 win over California.
"They come right together and hung as a team, which is hard thing to do through disappointment and adversity," USC head coach Steve Sarkisian said.
Leading 24-14 at halftime, the Bruins continued to separate themselves with two quick scores early in the third quarter.
Duarte's 38-yard catch moved UCLA deep into USC territory and after Hundley found Mossi Johnson for a 10-yard pickup on third down, Perkins rushed into the end zone from 10 yards out.
USC went three-and-out and Hundley took advantage by moving the offense 66 yards down the field in just one minute and capped the drive by carrying the ball for a 15-yard score.
Early in the fourth, the Bruins were on the doorstep after Nate Starks' 24- yard catch, but Hundley bobbled the snap to give USC the ball at its own 9- yard line.
Kessler completed back-to-back passes of 11 yards to JuJu Smith and Darreus Rogers and Allen made an 11-yard catch before finding the end zone on a 3-yard scamper for a 38-20 game with 3:08 left to play. Kessler's pass on a two-point conversion attempt was incomplete.
After USC's initial drive stalled just past midfield, Anthony Sarao jumped in front of a receiver to pick off Hundley's first throw of the game and darted down the sideline before diving over the left pylon for a 17-yard score.
UCLA was forced to punt on its following drive, but got the ball back after Nelson Agholor muffed the punt, giving the Bruins the ball at their opponents' 8. Three plays later, Hundley found a wide-open Lucien in the middle of the end zone to tie the game with 8:40 to play in the opening stanza.
Duarte hauled in a pass over the middle, juked past a defender and took off for a 57-yard touchdown to increase UCLA's lead to 14-7.
The Trojans received favorable field position at the UCLA 30 after Matt Mengel dropped a snap and amassed just 13 yards on his punt. USC was unable to capitalize, however, as Allen was stuffed for no gain on 4th-and-2 at the 5- yard line, resulting in a turnover on downs to end the first.
Kessler hit Smith along the sideline for a 26-yard gain, which set up Davis' 2-yard TD catch for a 14-14 game early in the second.
Ka'imi Fairbairn capped a 12-play, 52-yard drive by splitting the uprights from 32 yards out for the lead with 5:54 remaining in the first half.
On USC's ensuing drive, Kessler's pass was tipped into the air and intercepted by Eric Kendricks at the Bruins' 32. Devin Fuller's 13-yard catch moved the hosts into Trojan territory, Jordan James and Hundley each converted on third down with 2-yard rushes and Massington hauled in a 13-yard TD pass for a 24-14 lead with 14 seconds left in the first half.
Hundley now has 11,353 career total yards of offense , surpassing Cade McNown first overall in Bruins history... UCLA has won three straight games against USC for the first time since 1996-98 ... The Trojans reinstated cornerback Josh Shaw, who was suspended for the first 10 games of the season after lying about how he sprained both of his ankles ... UCLA cornerback Ishmeal Adams left the game with an ankle injury ... The Trojans were held to 62 yards rushing ... UCLA outgained USC, 461-276.