Saturday, 16 September 2017 14:03

UCLA Travels All the Way To Memphis

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Theo Howard HawaiiUCLA (2-0) and the red-hot Bruin offense will be taking their act on the road for the first time this season. The Bruins are heading to Memphis (1-0), to play a Tiger team that has been on the rise in recent years.

Memphis had their last game canceled due to all the inclement weather that has been hammering Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the surrounding areas.

Because of the lack of tape, Memphis could make things somewhat tough on the Bruin defense. The unit has started slow, especially against the run game. The UCLA defense has given up 663 rushing yards in their first two games and the opposition has been averaging 6.3 yards per rush.

This is something that the Bruins drastically have to address. It is unrealistic that the UCLA offense can continue at this pace. The Bruin defense has to pick it up against the run.

The Tigers are coached by Mike Norvell (9-5). The Bruin brain trust knows Norvell well from his days as the offensive coordinator at Arizona State. In his first year at the helm, Norvell registered eight wins, the most in program history, for a first-year coach, at Memphis. He was the first rookie coach to get the Tigers bowl eligible. No wonder Memphis football is has a lot of optimism about its future.

The Memphis offense is led by senior quarterback, Riley Ferguson (6-4, 240), who threw for 3,698 yards his junior season, 32 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Ferguson had a slow start in game one, throwing for 97 yards, completing 10 out 25 passes and one interception, but his team still won the opener.

The Tigers were able to win their opening game because of an impressive running game. That should give the Bruins something to think about. Memphis has two outstanding sophomore running backs, both ran for over 100-yards in the opener.

Darrell Henderson (5-9, 200) led the Tigers with 169 yards rushing, averaging 14.1 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns. Patrick Taylor, Jr., was almost as good, rushing for 132 yards, averaging 8.7 yards per rush and one touchdown.

Though the Tiger passing game may have got off to slow start, based on last season, the passing attack has the potential to be a very potent part of their offense.

Ferguson’s go-to guy is senior wide receiver, Anthony Miller (5-11, 190), who has caught a pass in every game he has played and that is 26 games and counting.

In the opener, Miller had two receptions for 23 yards. As a junior, he had 95 catches for 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns. During Miller’s illustrious career, he has 142 receptions for 2,128 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Kickoff is scheduled for 9:00 AM (PST) and will be nationally televised on ABC/ESPN2 with Beth Mowins doing the play-by-play, Anthony Becht analyzing the action, and Rocky Boiman roaming the sideline.

If you have to be out and about you can catch the game on the radio on AM 1150 with Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Matt Stevens (analyst), and Wayne Cook (sideline) in their usual chairs.

The game will also be broadcast on SIRIUS/XM Radio Channels: Sirius Ch. 145/XM Ch. 197/internet 959.

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