By: Justice Bolden
Pasadena, California –
The last time the Memphis Tigers and UCLA Bruins faced off on the football field back in 2014 it was the Tigers first trip to the Rose Bowl, and Denver Broncos backup QB 6-foot-7 inch Paxton Lynch was playing in his first big road game and he nearly led the Tigers to a road win in Pasadena, before Memphis eventually fell 42-35.
This time the Tigers will be without Lynch, but will be led by 6-foot-3 Memphis senior quarterback Riley Ferguson threw 32 touchdowns, breaking Lynch’s previous school record in the process of throwing for 3,698 yards.
Memphis Tigers vs #25 UCLA Bruins -College Football Preview
Meanwhile, in just six games last season, 6-foot-4 UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen threw for nearly 2,000 yards, while compiling over 3,600 passing yards as a freshman. This season Rosen has already amassed 820 passing yards in just two games.
Therefore, the stage is set for a clash between two of the most prolific passing quarterbacks in the country, one who is a household name in Rosen, the other a relative unknown in Ferguson who remains one of the nation’s best players that no one has heard about.
In order to stand of chance of earning their second straight home win over a ranked opponent, following their 2015 win over #13 Ole Miss, the Memphis Tigers defense will need to slow down Rosen, a projected NFL first round pick who could be the first quarterback taken off of the board. In the season opener, he engineered a 45-44 comeback win over the Texas A&M Aggies after the Bruins trailed 44-10 in the third quarter.
Photo By: Mark J. Terrill, AP
If you combine the fourth quarter against the Aggies and the four quarters of the Bruins last game against Hawaii, Rosen is now 41-for-51 passing, 620 yards, nine touchdowns,and zero interceptions in his last five quarters of action.
In the fourth quarter of the season-opener against Texas A&M, the junior completed he was 22-for-25 for 329 yards and five touchdowns.
Meanwhile, in the Tigers lone game of the season which was a win over Louisiana-Monroe, a pair of Tiger running backs, Patrick Taylor and Darrell “Pop” Henderson combined to rush for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Memphis kickoff returner Tony Pollard returned two kickoffs for a combined 144 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown on a kickoff to start the second half.
If this game comes down to the secondary, the Bruins have the advantage as they wil be paced by Freshman phenom Darnay Holmes. If this game comes down to the run game, the advantage goes to Memphis as UCLA has given up an average of 331 yards rushing in their first two games.
Tomorrow’s clash between the Tigers and #25 Bruins will kickoff 11:00am central at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN.