For UCLA, it's a brag-and-blue win over USC

After UCLA players made their way up the Coliseum tunnel Saturday night, Bruins Coach Jim Mora gathered his team outside the locker room and made a pronouncement.

"We own L.A.!" Mora shouted.

Quarterback Brett Hundley, kick returner Ishmael Adams and a tough Bruins defense that forced two turnovers had just led No. 22 UCLA to a 35-14 victory over No. 23 USC in the 83rd game between the crosstown rivals.

"It was awesome," linebacker Anthony Barr said. "It's our city and it will be that way for a while."

UCLA shared the Coliseum with USC until 1981, but the Bruins had struggled at the venue for more than a decade.

No longer. The Bruins won at the Coliseum for the first time since 1997, ending a streak of seven losses that included a 50-0 beatdown two years ago.

The Bruins, however, have now defeated the Trojans two years in row.

"This is a great addition to the one we had last year," Hundley said. "It wasn't a battle — it was a takeover. And that's just what we did."

Mora described Saturday's victory as the biggest of his UCLA coaching career.

"It's always temporary, getting into that 'we own this town,' but we got it right now," Mora said. "It shows you what's going on at UCLA."

Last season, USC could not tackle Hundley as he led the Bruins to a 38-28 victory at the Rose Bowl.

With USC riding a wave of emotion and five-game winning streak under interim Coach Ed Orgeron — and UCLA coming off a seemingly deflating loss to Arizona State — it figured to be a tougher task for Hundley on Saturday.

But Adams consistently gave the Bruins good field position with 130 yards in kick-return yardage. And Hundley played mistake-free, passing for 208 yards and rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns for the Bruins (9-3 overall and 6-3 in the Pac-12 Conference).

"He was able to beat us with his legs tonight," USC safety Dion Bailey said of Hundley. "Whatever was going on over there was working."

A capacity crowd stormed the Coliseum field two weeks ago when USC upset Stanford. But on Saturday most of the USC fans were gone or exiting by the final minutes.

USC fell to 9-4 and 6-3 in conference play, leaving Athletic Director Pat Haden with much to ponder as he considers whether to make Orgeron the full-time coach or hire from the outside.

"I think that was the worst performance we've had since we started back together," said Orgeron, who is 6-2 in eight games since replacing the fired Lane Kiffin.

The Trojans also lost to rival Notre Dame, 14-10.

As he made his way from the locker room, Orgeron said he did not have a timetable for when Haden might speak with him about the future.

"Things are going to happen in due time like they're supposed to happen," he said. "I'm just going to keep working."

Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone once again effectively deployed defensive players as offensive weapons. Linebacker Myles Jack and defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes rushed for first-half touchdowns and running back Paul Perkins added a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Barr forced a fumble and caused problems for a USC offensive line that lost center Marcus Martin to injury in the first quarter and guard Aundrey Walker in the third.

The Bruins led, 14-7, at halftime, a good omen for UCLA, which is now 16-0 under Mora in games it led at the break.

Hundley came out firing in the third quarter, and extended the lead to 21-7 with a scramble for a touchdown.

Then USC quarterback Cody Kessler, quiet for much of the first half, started heating up.

His third-down pass to receiver Marqise Lee kept alive a drive that culminated with a 22-yard strike to tight end Xavier Grimble for a touchdown that pulled the Trojans to within seven points.

Back came Hundley, converting two third downs with a scramble and a pass to receiver Shaquelle Evans to set up his five-yard run for a touchdown and a 28-14 lead.

The back-and-forth ended when USC tailback Javorius Allen lost a fumble after catching a pass, and USC's last chance ended when Barr stripped the ball from Kessler and Cassius Marsh recovered the fumble with 5:53 left.

Kessler completed 17 of 28 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown, but he was under pressure throughout the game by Barr and Marsh.

Allen rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown in 20 carries.

But this was UCLA's night.

"We've got this right now," Mora said, "but we've got to play them in 12 months."

Twitter: @latimesklein

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World