AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Freshman Kedon Slovis passed for a school-record 515 yards and threw four touchdown passes in Southern California’s 52-35 victory over UCLA on Saturday in the 89th edition of their crosstown showdown.
Michael Pittman Jr. caught two touchdown passes and Vavae Malepeai rushed for two scores as the Trojans (8-4, 7-2 Pac-12) wrapped up their regular season with their 16th win in the last 21 meetings with UCLA.
Drake London and Tyler Vaughns also caught TD passes, and a school-record four Trojans receivers topped 100 yards receiving while USC survived a tumultuous second half at the Coliseum and eliminated the rival Bruins (4-7, 4-4) from bowl contention.
Slovis carried the Trojans to the Victory Bell with another landmark performance in his impressive debut season. He surpassed Matt Barkley’s single-game USC records against UCLA and against any opponent in the fourth quarter while the Trojans racked up 643 yards of offense, and he also surpassed the school record for yards passing in a freshman season.
A year after UCLA’s Joshua Kelley broke the crosstown showdown’s rushing yardage record, Slovis broke its passing record while leading USC to its 10th win in UCLA’s last 11 visits to the Coliseum. Slovis also had his third consecutive 400-yard passing game — another first in USC’s lengthy history.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed for 367 yards with TD throws to Demetric Felton, Devin Asiasi and Chase Cota for the Bruins, who will finish with four consecutive losing records for the first time since 1921-24, shortly after the school was established in 1919. Asiasi finished with a career-high 141 yards receiving.
After UCLA’s Chip Kelly won his first game in the rivalry last year, USC beat the Bruins for the fourth time in five years under embattled head coach Clay Helton. After starting 3-3 this year, USC finished the regular season with five wins in six games and likely earned a trip to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on New Year’s Eve.
Fan calls for Helton’s ouster have remained strong this year, but new university president Carol Folt and athletic director Mike Bohn haven’t announced a plan. A decision is expected, but not guaranteed, before USC begins its bowl preparations.
With both teams wearing their home jerseys in accordance with rivalry tradition, USC scored 28 consecutive points after falling behind 10-7 early. Pittman caught two short TD passes to cap long drives, and London caught a 32-yard TD pass before Malepeai’s second TD run midway through the third quarter for a 38-14 lead.
But the Bruins hung around, with Asiasi running for a 53-yard TD catch and Cota catching another less than five minutes later.
Slovis hit Vaughns with a 49-yard TD pass on the opening snap of the fourth quarter. Kelley’s 1-yard TD run then capped another drive by the Bruins, but Stephen Carr rushed for a TD for USC with 8:39 to play during a drive in which Slovis blew past Barkley’s USC-record 493 yards passing against Arizona in 2012.