LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Carson Palmer was not as spectacular as in previous weeks, but he did more than enough to keep Southern California on a roll.
Palmer completed 20-of-34 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a score as the eighth-ranked Trojans stretched their winning streak to five games with a 34-13 Pac-10 Conference victory over Arizona State.
In his previous three games, the senior passed for 1,113 yards and 13 touchdowns.
USC (8-2, 6-1) remained in contention for a Bowl Championship Series bid and kept alive its slim Pac-10 hopes. Washington State, which was idle Saturday, needs to win one of its remaining two games to capture the Pac-10 title.
USC concludes conference play next week against archrival UCLA, then hosts Notre Dame in its regular season finale the following week.
"I think this was a terrific win," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "We had the opportunity in the last couple of weeks to look ahead and not focus on the game at hand. We answered it and got some wins."
Andrew Walter completed 24-of-49 passes for 297 yards with a touchdown for the Wildcats (7-5, 4-3), who suffered their third straight loss. Walter also threw a pair of interceptions.
"They're one of the most balanced teams in the Pac-10 and can both run and pass the ball," Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter said. "I'm not mad. I'm disappointed. We had opportunities."
USC improved to 10-9 all-time against Arizona State. The Sun Devils had been the only Pac-10 against whom the Trojans did not have a winning record.
"We've got to keep the wins coming," Carroll said. "We haven't had to do anything extraordinary so far. We've been able to stay within our system and still get in done."
Justin Fargas complemented Palmer by rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. The Trojans passed for 233 yards and rushed for 201.
"We try to play with a lot of confidence and stick together as a team," Fargas said. "We feel we can play with everyone. We have a great group of seniors. We've come together and put together a winning season."
Arizona State closed to 20-10 on Walter's 24-yard TD pass to Shaun McDonald with 31 seconds left in the first half, then made it 20-13 on Barth's 27-yard field goal as time expired.
But USC answered quickly, driving 71 yards in four plays to take a 27-13 lead on Fargas' three-yard TD run with 12:58 remaining.
"I just want to move the chains," Fargas said. "To put together a good drive and top it off with a touchdown is a good feeling."
Arizona State's hoped ended when Melvin Simmons returned an interception 10 yards to the Sun Devils 23 with under eight minutes left. That set up Palmer's two-yard TD run five plays later.
"They played hard and put pressure on me at times and I was forced into some questionable throws," Walter said. "They really got after us."
"The best word to use is frustrated," Koetter added. "He (Walter) was very frustrated. He made some throws he should not have. He's capable of making better decisions."
The Trojans came out strong, jumping to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on Palmer's 18-yard TD pass to Mike Williams and Ryan Killeen's 20-yard field goal.
USC stretched their lead to 20-3 in the second quarter on Palmer's two-yard TD pass to Alex Holmes and Killeen's 41-yard field goal that hit the upright and over the crossbar.