Football | November 18, 2023
LOS ANGELES (AP) — T.J. Harden rushed for a career-high 142 yards and scored two touchdowns, Ethan Garbers threw three TD passes and UCLA trounced USC Football 38-20 on Saturday in the 93rd edition of their crosstown showdown.
Hudson Habermehl made two TD receptions and Alex Johnson returned a fumble 11 yards for a key second-half touchdown for the Bruins (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12), who likely improved coach Chip Kelly’s tenuous job security by reclaiming the Victory Bell with their second straight blowout win in the Coliseum.
Caleb Williams passed for 384 yards with a touchdown and an interception on his 22nd birthday in the final game of the regular season for the Trojans (7-5, 5-4), who lost five of six after being ranked No. 5 entering the year and starting out 6-0.
Lincoln Riley has lost three straight games for the first time in his seven years as a head coach at Oklahoma and USC. Williams and Riley won their first 11 games together at the Coliseum before losing the last three.
Not even a lively home crowd, including pop star and USC student Olivia Rodrigo, could spark the Trojans to a competitive performance.
Logan Loya had nine catches for 60 yards while the Bruins lit up the scoreboard against USC’s dismal defense after scoring just 45 points in their previous three games combined. UCLA hadn’t won back-to-back games at USC’s 101-year-old stadium since 1997, but the Bruins never trailed in this matchup after blowing out the Trojans 62-33 two years ago.
UCLA’s offense managed just seven points last week in an embarrassing loss to Arizona State, but the Bruins drove 48 yards for Harden’s TD run on their opening drive after the defense stopped USC on downs near midfield.
Bruins cornerback Kenny Churchwell III then ripped the ball out of freshman Zachariah Branch’s hands deep in USC territory, and Habermehl caught a TD pass three plays later. Devin Kirkwood picked off Williams’ throw moments after that, but USC’s defense held before Williams capped a 99-yard drive with a beautiful throw to Brenden Rice, who went 74 yards for a score.
“A moon ball by Caleb Williams on the money!”
— USC Football ✌️ (@uscfb) November 18, 2023
UCLA scored on Garbers’ short TD pass to Harden on its opening drive of the second half. MarShawn Lloyd then fumbled on the first play of USC’s ensuing drive, and Johnson scooped and scored for a 28-10 lead.
USC: A mid-tier bowl game and a search for a new defensive coordinator.