USC players and coaches were impressed Saturday after UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley led the Bruins to a 38-28 victory over the Trojans at the Rose Bowl.
Hundley, a redshirt freshman, passed for 234 yards and a touchdown, without an interception. He also ran for two touchdowns.
"We thought he was going to be a little shook up, being a rookie playing in the Rose Bowl, rivalry week, you know, stuff like that," USC linebacker Hayes Pullard said. "We tried to put a little pressure on him, but he reacted real well."
Monte Kiffin, USC's assistant head coach for defense, said Hundley was "very, very poised," and came up with big plays when the Bruins needed them on third down.
"He scrambled around or hit a guy [with a pass]," Kiffin said. "We actually blitzed him pretty good at times."
The Trojans sacked Hundley five times, but defensive tackle George Uko said Hundley was "real elusive. He knew how to use his offensive line to scramble."
Uko provided the Trojans with a potential game-turning play when he recovered a fumble in the end zone on the third play of the second half to pull USC to within 24-20.
With rain falling and the ball at the Bruins 20, the snap never got to Hundley. Running back Johnathan Franklin picked up the ball and tried to advance it. But the ball was knocked out of his grasp. Hundley tried to regain control, but the ball squirted behind the goal line.
"I saw it squirt a couple times," Uko said, "so I was just hoping and was making sure I was real careful, like 'Please don't fumble.
USC tailback Curtis McNeal had 161 yards in 21 carries, the second consecutive game the senior rushed for more than 160 yards.
The previous week against Arizona State, McNeal had 163 yards in 31 carries and scored three touchdowns.
McNeal, a senior who rushed for a team-high 1,005 yards in 2011, has mainly been the No. 2 tailback behind Penn State transfer Silas Redd. But Redd was sidelined against Arizona State because of an undisclosed injury and was limited against the Bruins, carrying only three times for eight yards.
McNeal said he was "a little frustrated" Saturday when the Trojans were passing.
"Especially with the weather, keep the ball on the ground and go right at 'em," he said. "But you just go with what Coach Kiffin calls. ... We've got to make it work."
Lee fumbles again
Receiver Marqise Lee caught nine passes for 158 yards and a touchdown, but he fumbled the first time he touched the ball on a first-quarter running play.
The Bruins converted the miscue into a touchdown.
Lee also fumbled against Oregon and against Arizona State.
UCLA Coach Jim Mora said he still feared Lee.
"You can't stop him," Mora said. "He's just too dynamic. ... Every time he caught the ball I was holding my breath hoping we could get him down."