Fer­gu­son throws for 6 TDs as Mem­phis up­sets UCLA

The Arizona Republic - - SPORTS - CLAY BAI­LEY

MEM­PHIS, Tenn. - UCLA and Josh Rosen came in with the rep­u­ta­tion and the Associated Press poll rank­ing. The Mem­phis Tigers think it is time they got some re­spect and no­to­ri­ety.

Rosen was un­able to put to­gether a fourth-quar­ter come­back like he did in the opener against Texas A&M, and Mem­phis beat the Bru­ins (No. 25 AP) 4845 on Satur­day. The na­tion­ally tele­vised game show­cased a Tigers pro­gram that is 2-0 and has beaten a ranked team in each of the last three sea­sons.

Ri­ley Fer­gu­son threw for 398 yards and six touch­downs, and Ja­cobi Fran­cis broke up a late fourth-down pass to lead Mem­phis. Fran­cis’ breakup with 56 sec­onds left sent the Tigers faith­ful into a cel­e­bra­tion.

“They’ve been given noth­ing. They’ve had to earn ev­ery­thing they’ve ever got­ten,” Mem­phis coach Mike Norvell said about his team. “That’s what to­day’s about. It’s about go­ing out there and when you get that op­por­tu­nity and you put the work in, then you go out there and you make the play. That’s why I love this foot­ball (team).”

Rosen, con­sid­ered one of the top quar­ter­backs in the coun­try, was 34 of 56 for 463 yards and four touch­downs for the Bru­ins (2-1). But there also were two key in­ter­cep­tions

For all of the hype about Rosen, Fer­gu­son matched his coun­ter­part, com­plet­ing 23 of 38 passes for Mem­phis, and his con­nec­tions with wide re­ceiver An­thony Miller meant the dif­fer­ence. Miller caught nine passes for185 yards and a pair of touch­downs.

UCLA gave up big plays and turnovers, key ones that thwarted drives and led to Mem­phis scores, in­clud­ing a 60yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn by line­backer Tim Hart in the third quar­ter.

“There’s a for­mula for win­ning,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said. “You can’t turn the ball over, and you can’t give up ex­plo­sive plays and we did both.”

Both teams man­aged to an­swer the op­po­nents’ scores through the game. Mem­phis held a cou­ple of 10-point leads, but UCLA went ahead 45-41 on Rosen’s 22-yard pass to Austin Roberts with 11:51 left.

Mem­phis re­sponded with a four-play, 81-yard drive, the fi­nal 3 yards com­ing on Fer­gu­son’s pass to Phil May­hue with 9:56 left.

From there, it was up to the Tigers’ de­fense, which de­spite, giv­ing up 633 yards, did not al­low an­other touch­down.

THE TAKE­AWAY

UCLA: The Bru­ins did have a more suc­cess­ful rush­ing at­tack against the Tigers, in­clud­ing Bolu Olorun­funmi gain­ing 77 yards on 13 car­ries. The Bru­ins fin­ished with 170 yards rush­ing af­ter only gain­ing 195 on the ground in their first two games. And while Rosen threw for 463 yards and four touch­downs, the Pick-6 by Hart and an­other Mem­phis in­ter­cep­tion when UCLA was deep in Tiger ter­ri­tory, were dam­ag­ing. “I just made some stupid mis­takes,” Rosen said. “I made about 10 points worth of re­ally bad plays.”

MEM­PHIS: The Tigers used a pair of screen passes for scores at a time when the Bru­ins had thwarted the run­ning game. The Tigers were led in rush­ing by Dar­rell Hen­der­son, who had 14 car­ries for 105 yards, the fourth time in three games the Bru­ins have al­lowed an op­po­nent to sur­pass 100 yards on the ground.

CRUSH­ING BLOW

Mem­phis line­backer J.J. Rus­sell was taken from the field on a cart in the sec­ond quar­ter af­ter a bru­tal block on a Tigers kick­off. Mem­phis of­fi­cials said he was mov­ing. “He’s fine,” Norvell said. “I saw him at half­time, and got to go in and talk to him. He took a big hit, but he’ll be fine.”

LAST WORD

“We didn’t play a per­fect game. There were mis­takes that were made against a re­ally good foot­ball team,” Norvell said. “But our guys con­tin­ued to push and con­tin­ued to bat­tle.”

UP NEXT

UCLA: The Bru­ins open Pac-12 play at No. 19 Stan­ford next Satur­day.

AP

Mem­phis quar­ter­back Ri­ley Fer­gu­son passes as he is pres­sured by UCLA de­fen­sive line­man Matt Dick­er­son in the first half of Satur­day’s game in Mem­phis, Tenn.

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