No. 13 BYU squandered a 26-17 lead with 14:33 left to play and was behind 31-26 with 6:42 remaining after being penalized for running off the ball.
But the Cougars rallied to go up 34-31 as Devon Blackmon scored on a 13-yard run with 1:22 remaining. Michael Shelton recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win for BYU.
Elijah Hicks rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns as BYU improved to 14-1 in Mountain West Conference play under coach Kalani Sitake. The Cougars’ seven straight wins in the MWC is the best in league history.
USC (4-8, 1-7) got 144 yards rushing from Stephen Carr and quarterback Jack Sears threw for 223 yards and a touchdown. The Trojans, who lost their eighth straight game, had won the previous six games on the road against ranked teams.
USC’s only touchdown was a blocked extra point that Hanna returned 51 yards for a TD with 6:17 left in the third quarter.
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill threw for just 62 yards but ran for 82 and two touchdowns. He was hurried all day and sacked four times.
Sears led USC with 214 yards passing. He was sacked three times and harassed all day.
BYU had 563 yards of total offense, compared to USC’s 277. But the Cougars converted just 3 of 11 on third down. The Trojans were just 2 of 11.
The Trojans also did not convert a third down inside the BYU 10-yard line, while the Cougars were 3 of 8.
Cougar quarterback Taysom Hill was pressured throughout the game, until cutting the deficit to 31-26 on a 26-yard TD run with 2:15 left.
USC moved 66 yards in eight plays to go up 31-26 with 6:42 left on Stephen Carr’s 14-yard touchdown run. Carr scored on a 33-yard run in the first quarter, then added a 12-yard TD run in the second quarter.
After Hayes Pullard intercepted Hill with 3:26 left in the second quarter, USC drove 51 yards in eight plays to take a 17-10 lead. The Trojans gained 14 yards on their first three plays but a third-down pass by Sears was tipped and caught by Asa Taccone, who ran 28 yards down the sideline for a score.
USC missed a chance to go up 10-0 with 11:10 left in the second quarter when DJ Uiagalelei was flagged for a face mask on a short pass from Sears that was down by the 5-yard line. The Trojans settled for Sam Darnold’s 14-yard field goal.
BYU took a 10-7 lead on Hill’s 12-yard TD run, his fourth of the game. Hill, who rushed for 114 yards and was sacked four times, capped the opening drive with a 15-yard touchdown run, giving him 104 rushing yards in just over a quarter.
After holding USC to a three-and-out, BYU took over at its own 19. This time Hill hit Mitch Mathews on a 17-yard play to set up his TD run. The next play, sophomore Zayne Anderson intercepted Sears and took it 51 yards to set up a two-yard TD run by Hill with 8:55 left in the half.
NOTES: USC freshman QB Jack Sears is the fourth freshman QB in school history to have a 100-yard rushing game in a career. Eddie Daniels and Matt Robinson also had TD runs. … BYU defensive back Hayden Caughel, who redshirted last season, leads the nation in total tackles per game (17.8).