USC vs. UCLA final score, recap: Kedon Slovis sets record in shootout win

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images /

Kedon Slovis threw for 515 yards and the USC vs. UCLA final score finished in the Trojans’ favor, as they reclaimed the Victory Bell with a 52-35 victory.

The lowdown: The USC vs. UCLA final score featured a whole lotta points, with the Trojans and Bruins turning in an 87-point shootout in college football’s greatest intercity rivalry. Clay Helton’s program got the win, 52-35, on an afternoon at the LA Coliseum in which quarterback Kedon Slovis set a school record for passing yards with 515.

The true freshman carved up a dismal UCLA secondary, getting four different Trojan receivers up over the 100-yard mark for the first time in school history. Slovis finished his day completing 78.7 percent of his passes, with four ending up as touchdowns. He was clean throughout, not throwing an interception for the second-straight week.

The offensive explosion saw USC score 50-plus points for the first time since the 2017 Rose Bowl, while Clancy Pendergast’s defense struggled to keep UCLA at bay, resulting in a Big XII style shootout.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson accounted for 431 yards of total offense to attempt another big comeback for the Bruins, as USC led by as many as 24 points. Ultimately, the Trojans’ defense proved to be less porous than UCLA’s, outgaining them 643 to 540, while getting the 17-point victory.

The takeaway: The regular season comes to a conclusion for Clay Helton’s program with an 8-4 record, a three-game improvement from last year’s 5-7 embarrassment. While it’s an improvement for the Trojans both in the win column and somewhat on the field with the overall eye test, USC’s wild fluctuations from explosive to repulsive have the fourth-year head coach’s hot seat as warm as ever.

Is this the last we’ve seen of him and his staff? It’s certainly possible. Despite impressive performances from key players like Kedon Slovis, Michael Pittman and Talanoa Hufanga this season, the uptick in wins didn’t result in a complete scrubbing of the systemic issues that have plagued the Trojans for years under Helton.

RELATED: Is it a Foregone Conclusion That Clay Helton Will Be Fired?

The vast majority of the season played out like Saturday’s victory over UCLA. Games were highlighted by the greatness of USC’s talent, while being dragged down by their perpetual sloppiness.

Now it’s on new athletic director Mike Bohn to make a decision. It just might take a week, as the Trojans still have their Rose Bowl hopes pinging away on life support, given that their 7-2 Pac-12 record and a win over Utah keep them alive in the division, should the Utes falter.

Player of the game: True freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis became the first USC quarterback to ever throw for 500 passing yards in a single game. With 515, he broke Matt Barkley’s previous mark of 493 against Arizona in 2012. But while the numbers clearly look good for Slovis, it was another game in which he excelled by having complete control in the pocket. He was clean, not throwing an interception, and repeatedly navigated the pocket effectively to allow all of his receivers opportunities to make plays.

Stat of the game: Kedon Slovis not only torched UCLA through the air, but it was another fantastic performance against an in-state rival. In three games against USC’s traditional Pac-12 rivals — Stanford, Cal and UCLA— the freshman was 94-of-115 passing for 1,298 yards, with 11 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 208.1 passer rating.

Next on tap: The Trojans have concluded their regular season with an 8-4 record overall and a 7-2 mark in Pac-12 play. They can finish no worse than No. 3 in the conference, and now must wait to see where and when they play next.

If Utah is to lose against Arizona or Colorado, USC will head to Santa Clara to play Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game on December 6. Otherwise, they’ll return to action in either the Alamo Bowl or Holiday Bowls, depending on the New Year’s Six bowl fate of the Pac-12 runner-up.