(25) UCLA at Memphis Time: 11 AM (CT) Spread: UCLA -3 Total: 70.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The UCLA Bruins started its 2017 season 2-0 with a Week 1 victory over Texas A&M and a Week 2 win over Hawaii. The Bruins now travel to face Memphis on the road as 3-point favorites, with an astounding over/under of 70.5 points in a game that does not figure to factor high in defensive showings. The game is due to air at 11 (Central) on ABC.
UCLA is 16-1 in regular season non-conference games since 2012, which ties it for the fourth-best mark in the FBS. In already its third non-conference game for the year, it will try to improve that mark to 3-0 in Tennessee this Saturday. Last week, the Bruins did big damage in the air as quarterback Josh Rosen threw for 329 yards on 22 of 25 passing, for five touchdowns without any picks.
The backfield produced another 132 rushing yards, with Rosen struggling to advance the ball in his own right, losing 17-yards on his two attempts. Rosen had two passing targets with big games: Theo Howard caught seven passes for 110 yards and a TD, and Darren Andrews had 92 yards on four catches, three of which were touchdown receptions. The Bruins should be able to exploit Memphis in similar fashion this week.
Memphis ranked suffered huge losses in its secondary from last year’s team, and only one starter returns in the unit, Jonathan Cook at free safety. Memphis allowed Louisiana Monroe QB Garrett Smith and his backup Caleb Evans to throw for 278 yards in the opener. The Tigers held on to win 37-29, but if that is any indication of what to expect from its secondary, it should be in a world of trouble against the Bruins this week.
Offensively, the Tigers are reliant on its backfield. Darrell Henderson had 12 carries for 169 yards and two TDs in the opener, and Patrick Taylor Jr. rushed for 131 yards on 15 carries and a TD. The Tigers averaged 8.2 yards per attempt on 39 rushes in the game, and Riley Ferguson struggled throwing the football for Memphis. He was just 10 of 25 (40 percent) for 97 yards with an interception.
Ferguson is a 6-foot-4 senior who threw for 3,698 yards last season on 63.2 percent completions, but he was intercepted 10 times and sacked 33 times. His RAW Quarterback rating was just 60.7, though his passer rating shined at 152.7. The story kind of tells itself, howsoever generic the rating stats can be to some: He is a capable passer, but overall just not a great quarterback, and the Tigers will continue to rely on its bevy of ball carriers this week, even if UCLA seems to have a decisive edge on offense with Memphis’ weak secondary. Expect the Bruins to cover the spread and win by roughly a full-touchdown difference.
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