Josh Rosen might have won the duel, but Sam Darnold helps USC get the win in the annual rivalry game.
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UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen passed for more than 400 yards for the fourth time this season, but USC Sam Darnold kept his record perfect as a starter in 12 career games at the Coliseum.
USC defeated UCLA, 28-23, and will play for the Pac-12 Conference championship in two weeks.
The Trojans are 10-2 overall and 8-1 in Pac-12 Conference play. UCLA fell to 5-6 overall, 3-5 in conference. The Bruins are 0-6 on the road.
Rosen completed 32 of 52 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns. Jordan Lasley made the three scoring receptions and finished with 10 catches for 204 yards.
Darnold completed 17 of 28 passes for 264 yards. Ronald Jones II rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns in 28 carries.
Josh Rosen’s NFL stock has to be rising. Jordan Lasley’s must be going through the roof.
Rosen has completed 32 of 52 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns. Lasley has been on the receiving end of all three scores.
His 27-yard reception of a Rosen pass with 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter has pulled UCLA to within 28-23.
The Bruins tried for a two-point conversion but failed on a pass.
Lasley beat USC cornerback Jack Jones on his route, and Rosen delivered a perfect pass.
Ninety yards in 10 plays covering five minutes.
USC saved its best offensive showing for the right time, and the Trojans now have their first double-digit lead of the game.
Sam Darnold completed all three of his passes on the march, to Stephen Carr for 29 yards, Daniel Imatorbhebhe for 16 yards and Deontay Burnett for nine yards.
Ronald Jones added the touchdown on a two-yard run. He has rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns in 25 carries.
Darnold has completed 17 of 28 passes for 264 yards.
USC double tipped, and UCLA is three points richer for it.
A 43-yard pass play from Josh Rosen to Jordan Lasley helped set up a 26-yard field goal by JJ Molson that pulled UCLA to within 21-17 with 10 minutes 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter at the Coliseum.
Two Trojans touched Rosen’s pass before Lasley did. Jack Jones tipped the ball and then it banked off Iman Marshall’s helmet before settling in Lasley’s arms.
Rosen has completed 29 of 47 passes for 380 yards. Lasley has nine catches for 177 yards.
Through three quarters, USC leads UCLA, 21-14, even though the Bruins hold the statistical advantage in several categories.
UCLA has outgained USC, 368 yards to 317, has 21 first downs to the Trojans’ 17, and has held the ball for 24 minutes 50 seconds compared with 20:10.
Josh Rosen has completed 25 of 41 passes for 323 yards to Sam Darnold’s 13 of 22 for 188 yards. However, USC holds a 129-45 edge in rushing yardage.
After turning the ball over inside the red zone on its previous two possessions, UCLA didn’t waste any time in its next trip.
After a 35-yard gain on a Josh Rosen pass to Austin Roberts moved the ball to the nine, the Bruins scored on the next play.
Jordan Lasley, who is having a huge game, ran right between USC defensive backs Iman Marshall and Marvell Tell III and was wide open in the end zone when Rosen found him.
Lasley has seven catches for 126 yards and both UCLA touchdowns.
Good defense turns the ball over to special teams, which can set up an offense.
Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? It just did for USC.
After back-to-back sacks forced UCLA to punt, a nifty 17-yard return by Ajene Harris gave USC good field position at the UCLA 44, and it took the Trojans five plays to score from there.
Quarterback Sam Darnold connected with Steven Mitchell for an 18-yard gain and running back Stephen Carr for 20 yards on a swing pass, helping move the ball to the UCLA one.
Darnold scored from there on a run with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left in the third quarter.
USC came into this game second in the nation in quarterback sacks, with 37.
Through two and a half quarters, add four more.
UCLA’s second possession of the second half ended with Josh Rosen sacked on back-to-back plays.
First, Chris Hawkins caught him on a safety blitz.
Next, it was linebacker Uchenna Nwosu.
Another Josh Rosen mistake deep in USC territory allowed the Trojans to hold their seven-point lead through four and a half minutes of the third quarter.
Rosen, who fumbled with the Bruins driving late in the first half, zipped a pass right into the chest of USC safety Marvell Tell III in the middle of the end zone.
Tell returned the ball to the USC 23.
Rosen’s pass came on a third-and-12 play, and before that ill-advised throw he had been brilliant on third down.
UCLA had converted on seven of its previous 11 third-down plays.
Earlier in the same drive, Rosen and running back Soso Jamabo connected for a 25-yard gain on third and 18.
Rosen has completed 22 of 35 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown, but he’s also turned the ball over twice.
The first half is over at the Coliseum, and USC leads UCLA, 14-7, but the Trojans are probably disappointed the lead isn’t bigger.
The half ended with Sam Darnold scrambling down to the UCLA five-yard line, but USC was without a timeout and the clock ran out before the Trojans could line up for another play.
Then again, USC is also lucky the score isn’t tied. UCLA had driven deep into Trojan territory with less than a minute left in the half before Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen coughed up a fumble.
Rosen was sacked by Malik Dorton, who also slapped the ball loose from the quarterback’s hands. John Houston Jr. picked it up for USC and ran nine yards to the Trojan 40.
With 37 seconds left, Darnold connected on three consecutive passes — to Steven Mitchell for a gain of 15, and to Deontay Burnett for six and 25 yards — moving the ball to the UCLA 14 with 10 seconds left.
Darnold was going to pass again from there, but he couldn’t find an open receiver and chose to tuck the ball and run.
Darnold has completed 10 of 15 passes for 132 yards with an interception. Ronald Jones II has run for 88 yards and a touchdown in 15 carries for USC.
Rosen has completed 18 of 28 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Lasley has five catches for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Bruins.
Earlier this week, Sam Farmer, The Times’ NFL expert, interviewed three pro scouts and wrote a story about what they liked, and didn’t like, about quarterbacks Sam Darnold of USC and Josh Rosen of UCLA.
With Darnold, they liked the way he can improvise outside the pocket, and the USC star showed it when he scrambled around to his right on the Trojans’ most-recent possession, then found Tyler Vaughns for a nice gain on a pass he threw back to his left.
A few plays later, Darnold showed what the scouts don’t care for: He skipped around despite decent protection — one scout described him as “hoppy and jumpy in the pocket” — and delivered an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Jaleel Wadood.
UCLA is playing like a team with nothing to lose, but its aggressiveness on offense didn’t result in points on its most recent possession.
The Bruins went for it on fourth-and-10 from the USC 35 — and converted — and also tried a tricky reverse, but in the end a 47-yard field-goal try by JJ Molson landed short.
USC leads UCLA, 14-7, at the end of the first quarter, but Josh Rosen has the Bruins driving.
He connected with Theo Howard for a 30-yard gain on third-and-12 and with Jordan Lasley for 14 yards on fourth-and-10.
Rosen completed 11 of 16 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, with Lasley making three catches for 66 yards and Howard four catches for 48 yards.
Sam Darnold completed all three of his passes, for 30 yards. Ronald Jones has rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown in nine carries.
This game was billed as a duel between quarterbacks, Josh Rosen of UCLA vs. Sam Darnold of USC — either could be the first passer taken in the next NFL draft.
But so far, it’s Rosen against USC’s Ronald Jones II, who looks like he’s probably improving his draft stock against UCLA’s weak run defense.
Jones scored from two yards out with 4 minutes, 8 seconds left in the first quarter to give USC a 14-7 lead.
Jones ran four times for 37 yards on a 56-yard scoring march. The touchdown was his 15th rushing this season. He has already run for 62 yards in nine carries.
Josh Rosen just did what he needs to continue to do if UCLA is to hang with USC tonight at the Coliseum.
He guided the Bruins on a seven-play, 80-yard drive, capping the march by hitting Jordan Lasley with an 11-yard scoring pass, and the Bruins and Trojans are tied, 7-7, midway through the first quarter.
Rosen completed four of five passes for 74 yards on the drive, including a 41-yard bomb to Lasley.
Rosen has completed six of nine passes for 88 yards.
A 53-yard gain by UCLA on a pass from Josh Rosen to Jordan Lasley was wiped out by a penalty for an ineligible receiver downfield, and then things got worse fast for the Bruins.
On a punt, UCLA was set up to defend a kick to the left. Instead, J.J. Molson kicked to the right sideline.
Ajene Harris made the fake of the season, pretending as if he were catching the ball to the left, where the Bruins had several defenders.
Meantime, Michael Pittman Jr. caught the ball all the way to the right side of the UCLA defense, and he streaked 72 yards for a touchdown.
USC’s first four plays from scrimmage were handoffs to Ronald Jones, which seems like a good strategy considering Jones has averaged 184 yards per game in his last three games and UCLA’s run defense is worst in the nation.
Jones ran for six, six, 11 and two yards.
But on his fifth carry, on third-and-two from the UCLA 43, he was stacked up for no gain and the Trojans had to punt.
UCLA takes over at its own 10 and now it’s Josh Rosen’s turn.
Both teams’ defenses look like they’ve picked up injured starters for today’s renewal of the USC-UCLA football rivalry.
Freshman defensive end Jaelan Phillips is back for UCLA after he sat out last week because of a concussion. However, backup quarterback Devon Modster did not throw the ball during pregame. He suffered a broken thumb against Utah.
For USC, cornerback Iman Marshall, who has missed the last three games because of a sprained knee, is listed as the starting cornerback.