UCLA vs. Memphis, 9-16-2017 - Expert Prediction
Written by: Joseph Phelan
UCLA Bruins (2-0) at Memphis Tigers (1-0)
When and Where: Saturday, September 16 at 12 p.m. ET at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN
Line: UCLA -3.5
The Bruins had a wild week 1 win over Texas A&M. The Bruins are now ranked thanks to a second straight win over Hawaii. Memphis took care of its only opponent so far Louisiana Monroe. The Tigers were scheduled to play UCF, but the game was canceled.
Quarterback Josh Rosen has been absolutely terrific this year. He was brutal in the first half against Texas A&M, and that was well documented, but ever since he’s been on fire. On the season, Rosen has thrown for 820 yards and nine touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown an interception, despite the struggles completing passes in the first half against the Aggies. Rosen has a tough task Saturday since the game’s so earlier and in a different time zone. Still, the Bruins have to feel confident with how well their offense has played in the past six quarters. The rushing attack has been so-so, so that’s something to watch for against Memphis. Caleb Wilson and Darren Andrews each have over 230 yards receiving on the year. Andrews has five touchdowns.
The Bruins defense has been fair through two weeks. This team’s built on offense, but UCLA settled down against the Aggies after a rocky first half. The Bruins allowed 44 points to the Aggies in that instant classic, while they allowed 23 points against Hawaii. UCLA has allowed close to 500 yards per game. That has to stop, so the defense will be challenged against a Memphis rushing attack that’s really solid.
Henderson was terrific in Memphis’s opening season win over Louisiana Monroe. Henderson rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns on only 12 carries. He was super effective and electric, and he’ll be able to make a big impact against a shaky Bruin defense. The Tigers had a week off to prepare for UCLA, so maybe that could help them in this one. Riley Ferguson had little success throwing the ball in his only start. He didn’t even throw for over 100 yards.
Memphis’s defense was fine until the fourth quarter. The Tigers allowed 15 fourth quarter points to Louisiana Monroe a couple weeks ago now. Memphis’s defense will be challenged Saturday, especially its secondary. Memphis recovered three fumbles and picked off one pass in its opening game. The Tigers also had two sacks and six tackles for losses. The Bruins rushing attack could struggle against Memphis.
- Bruins are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a bye week.
- Bruins are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on fieldturf.
- Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
- Tigers are 1-7 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
The Tigers have a tough task slowing down Rosen Saturday. The Bruins should be prepared to play at an earlier time. UCLA’s defense will be challenged against Henderson and Memphis’s impressive rushing attack. In the end, the Bruins have too much fire power.
Pick: UCLA -3.5
Joe graduated from St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. He works as a news reporter for a paper in Saratoga Springs, NY. He's been watching sports since he could walk, his favorites being basketball and football.
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