Memphis scored an entertaining 48-45 victory over No. 25 UCLA on Saturday afternoon at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee.
Tigers quarterback Riley Ferguson led the upset charge with 398 passing yards and six touchdowns. Wide receiver Anthony Miller was the main recipient in the high-power aerial attack, with nine catches for 185 yards and two scores.
Josh Rosen, a potential top pick in the 2018 NFL draft, had another strong showing for the Bruins with 463 yards through the air and four touchdowns, plus one on the ground. Darren Andrews tallied 175 yards and a score on 10 grabs in the losing effort.
The contest was tied 7-7 after the opening quarter, and then all hell broke loose in the second as the teams combined for 37 points—20 for Memphis and 17 for UCLA. In all, they put up 1,193 yards of total offense.
ESPN highlighted a terrific catch and run by the Tigers' Tony Pollard as part of the wild second quarter:
That UCLA-Memphis game on ABC is just as wild as we thought it'd be. The Tigers lead 27-24 at the half in this @CocaCola Instant Replay. https://t.co/ADWaldF2Ln2017-9-16 18:07:40
Memphis carried a three-point lead into the fourth period, but Rosen showed why he's been surrounded by so much hype during the early portion of the season by leading a six-play, 99-yard drive to give the Bruins their first lead since just before halftime.
Chat Sports showcased the go-ahead score:
Chat Sports @ChatSports
.@josh3rosen's 4th TD pass puts #UCLA up 45-41 over #Memphis! #UCLAvsMEM https://t.co/5CigwgETBF2017-9-16 19:26:30
It was all Tigers from there, however. Ferguson responded to Rosen's drive by leading his own 81-yard journey to the end zone, finding Phil Mayhue for a three-yard score to regain the lead.
Then the Memphis defense came up huge in crunch time, as Terrell Carter picked off UCLA's star quarterback in the red zone.
A failed fake field goal by the Tigers gave the Bruins one last chance to pull off the comeback, but Memphis stood tall again to secure the upset.
ESPN College Football spotlighted the final defensive stand:
ESPN CollegeFootball @ESPNCFB
Tigers take 'em down! For the third straight season, Memphis has upset a ranked opponent, taking down UCLA 48-45. https://t.co/fJh0by4Zcu2017-9-16 20:07:07
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports praised the Tigers' second-year head coach:
Pat Forde @YahooForde
Mike Norvell, impressive coach. He's done very well there. Justin Fuente built foundation but he's taken it up a notch.2017-9-16 20:04:30
John Martin of ESPN 92.9 FM commented on the significance on Memphis' triumph:
John Martin @JohnMartin929
Memphis really won a shootout with Chosen Rosen for the entire country to see. What a day for this program.2017-9-16 20:02:01
ESPN Stats & Info added another note on the win:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Memphis has picked up a win against an AP-ranked opponent for the 3rd straight season (No. 18 Houston in 2016, No. 13 Ole Miss in 2015). https://t.co/mzNCLzo5if2017-9-16 20:05:37
The loss will halt UCLA's surge up the rankings. The Bruins will return to action next Saturday night for a high-profile Pac-12 clash with Stanford at Stanford Stadium.
Memphis will be a team to watch as it tries to make it deep into the season without a loss. Its schedule is favorable, with the toughest tests being road games against UCF and Houston. The Tigers will remain home to face FCS opponent Southern Illinois in their homecoming game next Saturday.