PULLMAN — Brett Hundley threw three touchdown passes to help No. 17 UCLA beat Washington State 44-36 on Saturday night.
UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) has won four games in a row since a loss at California, and is first in the Pac-12 South.
Washington State (2-8, 0-7) has lost straight and new coach Mike Leach is still looking for his first league win. Connor Halliday threw five touchdown passes in the loss.
Washington State dominated the first quarter, then was outscored 30-0 in the second quarter as Hundley threw three touchdown passes and the Bruins piled up 181 yards.
The Cougars played without star receiver Marquess Wilson, who was suspended this week for a violation of team rules and then quit the team.
The Bruins’ defense blocked two WSU field goal attempts, returning one for a touchdown. They also returned a fumble for a score and knocked WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel out of the game.
Washington State took the opening kickoff and drove to the UCLA 23, where the drive stalled. Andrew Furney’s field goal attempt was blocked by Datone Jones, and the ball was picked up by UCLA’s Sheldon Price, who ran it back 68 yards for a touchdown.
On the next drive, the Cougars got to the 1-yard line before a penalty pushed them back to the 16. Furney’s 33-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cassius Marsh.
Washington State finally scored on its third deep drive of the first quarter, when Halliday hit Dominique Williams with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7. Halliday had just gone into the game in place of injured starter Tuel.
Washington State outgained UCLA 167 yards to 22 yards in the first quarter.
But it was all UCLA in the second quarter.
The Bruins took a 14-7 lead on Hundley’s 16-yard scoring pass to Johnathan Franklin. Teondray Caldwell fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return, and UCLA took possession on the WSU 24. Joseph Fauria caught a 9-yard pass from Hundley to give UCLA a 21-7 lead.
Halliday was sacked in the end zone, with the safety giving UCLA a 23-7 lead. The Bruins also got the ball back, and scored on Hundley’s 10-yard pass to Devin Fuller for a 30-7 lead with 6:40 left in the first half. Halliday fumbled after a hit from Marsh and the ball was picked up by UCLA’s Eric Kendricks, who ran 40 yards for a touchdown and a 37-7 halftime lead.
Washington State cut into UCLA’s lead in the second half while holding the Bruins to one score.
Halliday threw touchdown passes to Brett Bartolone and Marcus Mason in the third, while Jordon James added a touchdown for UCLA on a 2-yard run. Halliday threw fourth quarter touchdown passes to Dominique Williams and Kristoff Williams, the last with 1:31 left.
The 28 points were the most WSU has scored since putting up 34 in a loss to Colorado on Sept. 22.