Junior running back Joshua Kelley rushed for 289 yards and two touchdowns as UCLA ended a three-game losing streak against crosstown rival USC with a 34-27 Pac-12 victory at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
The Bruins (3-8, 3-5 Pac-12) also ended a three-game losing streak on the season, while keeping the Trojans (5-6, 4-5) from becoming bowl eligible. USC must defeat Notre Dame next weekend in a nonconference rivalry game to qualify for a bowl game.
Kelley, a transfer from UC Davis, had the third-most rushing yards in a single game in UCLA history. He also became the first UCLA running back with a 1,000-yard season since Paul Perkins in 2015. Kelley has 1,188 yards.
USC freshman quarterback JT Daniels passed for 337 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions. UCLA sophomore defensive back Darnay Holmes intercepted Daniels one play after Kelley took off on a 55-yard TD run to give UCLA a 28-27 lead with 10:39 remaining in the game.
UCLA converted Holmes’ interception into a 19-yard field goal from junior JJ Molson that gave the Bruins a 31-27 lead with 6:19 remaining. Molson added a 48-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining to give UCLA a 34-27 lead.
USC had one last drive to tie the game, but on fourth down with 37 seconds remaining, Daniels threw an incomplete pass in the direction of freshman wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.
UCLA finished with 479 yards of total offense, 313 of it on the ground. USC had 449 yards of total offense, with just 112 of it rushing.
UCLA graduate transfer quarterback Wilton Speight threw for 166 yards and a touchdown, that coming on a 33-yard strike to junior wide receiver Theo Howard in the first quarter. Howard led the Bruins with five catches for 76 yards.
Junior wide receiver Michael Pittman led USC with seven catches for 106 yards. Trojans sophomore tailback Vavae Malepeai rushed for 77 yards on 15 carries.
New UCLA head coach Chip Kelly is now 1-0 against USC, while Trojans head coach Clay Helton lost to UCLA for the first time in four seasons.
The last time USC won less than six games in a season was in 2000 when the team went 5-7 under head coach Paul Hackett, who was replaced by Pete Carroll the following season.
—Field Level Media