BOULDER, Colo. -- Sam Darnold tossed two TD passes and ran for another, Ajene Harris intercepted two passes, including one he returned for a score, and No. 15 Southern California beat Colorado 38-24 on Saturday to wrap up the Pac-12 South title.
Darnold threw for 329 yards as he improved to 18-3 as a starter.
"I've really enjoyed his leadership, whether it's good times or bad," USC coach Clay Helton said. "When you're the quarterback at USC and to have that much pressure on you and do it with so much class and character on a weekly basis, whether things are going good or bad, and perform for his brothers? He's the definition of believing in the team's success over individual success."
Ronald Jones II had 142 yards to surpass Mike Garrett for sixth place on the Trojans' all-time rushing list.
USC (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12, CFP No. 11) led 27-0 in the third quarter, but needed to weather a late Colorado comeback. The Trojans blocked two field goals to move to 12-0 against the Buffaloes (5-6, 2-6).
Juwann Winfree had a big day for Colorado by hauling in TD passes of 79 and 57 yards. Steven Montez was tackled on a fourth down play near the USC goal line on Colorado's final possession with just over a minute remaining. Montez said he thought it was first down.
"A lot of missed opportunities," said Montez, who threw for 376 yards. "We just couldn't get going."
A pivotal play in the game was when Colorado tried to get something going with about a minute left before halftime and down 14-0. Montez forced a pass to the outside that Harris stepped in front of, tip-toed along the out-of-bounds line and headed into the end zone.
Harris had another interception in the fourth quarter that nearly went for a score. As he was being tackled, Harris pitched the ball to Marvel Tell III, who took it about 27 yards for a TD. The replay booth took a look and ruled that Harris' knee was down before the pitch.
"It would've been real sweat for the whole squad," Harris said. "What a great win for us."
USC will play in the conference title game on Dec. 1 in Santa Clara, California. The representative from the north remains up in the air.
"There's still a lot out there that we have to get ready for," Helton said. "We're going to celebrate tonight and go back to work tomorrow."
USC: This should please Helton -- the Trojans turned in big plays on offense, defense and special teams. This should not -- a blocked punt that set up a short score by Phillip Lindsay to make it 27-14 in the third quarter.
Colorado: They Buffaloes remain a win away from reaching bowl eligibility for a second straight season.
Colorado: After a bye week, travels to Utah on Nov. 25. The Buffs are 32-28-3 all-time against the Utes.