The first game of the season is usually a test to find out where your team stands and where it can improve moving forward. The UCLA Bruins found out that they were just too complacent in many aspects of the game and the defense could use some improvement — as well as some areas on offense. However, a win is a win.
On the other side of the field, the Memphis Tigers aren’t exactly the most potent team in college football, nor are they known for their football, but they took down Austin Peay 63-0 in week one. Memphis completely shut down the Governors in every aspect of the game and won big without any big plays — no touchdowns of 17 or more yards.
Brett Hundley‘s Heisman campaign got off to a slow start against Virginia as the junior quarterback didn’t find the endzone once through the air and struggled to get his offense going. Hundley finished 20 of 33 for 242 yards but had no touchdowns or interceptions to go along with his stat line. Hundley’s favorite target was Jordan Payton who caught eight passes for 98 yards and Eldridge Massington had just two catches, but made them count for 63 yards. The run game was a bit sloppy and inconsistent as Paul Perkins had 80 yards on 16 carries while Hundley added another 39 yards and a score on the ground.
Memphis doesn’t possess one of the most electric offenses in the nation, but it made all of its opportunities could with nine touchdowns against Austin Peay in week one. Sophomore quarterback and second-year starter Paxton Lynch had a solid game, going 20-27 for 242 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for another two with 34 yards on the ground. Doroland Dorceus also added two touchdowns on the ground as he finished with 41 yards on 10 carries while Jarvis Cooper led all rushers with 101 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries. The run game accounted for seven touchdowns, but Mose Frazier and Alan Cross both added a receiving score of their own.
Defensively, the Tigers completely shut down the Governors, holding them to no points and just 146 total yards. The area that really impressed was the secondary as Memphis allowed just 30 passing yards on 6-16 passing while also recording an interception. On the other hand, UCLA was out-gained by Virginia in the opener as it gave up 120 yards on the ground and 266 through the air. If the Bruins want to have a chance to win the Pac-12, they will need to stop the opposing quarterbacks as they do play in a pass-happy league.
Memphis will travel to UCLA to take on the Bruins at 10 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 6. The game will be broadcasted on Pac-12 Network.
PREDICTION: Memphis 17, UCLA 37
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at email@example.com.