UCLA put together another solid drive but had to settle for J.J. Molson's 33-yard field goal after Josh Rosen's third-down pass fell incomplete. UCLA now holds a 10-7 lead over Memphis early in the second quarter.
There were some oddities on the drive, including offsetting penalties after Rosen was called for intentional grounding and UCLA challenged that Memphis had 12 men on the field on the play. Officials reviewed the play and concurred, negating the intentional grounding call.
UCLA is showing some variety on offense, with spread and heavy packages early in this game. The Bruins seem to be finding their groove a bit, especially on defense.
The Bruins got big runs from Brandon Stephens and Jalen Starks on a 50-yard scoring drive ending with Starks' seven-yard touchdown run that pulled UCLA into a 7-7 tie with Memphis midway through the first quarter.
Stephens set up the touchdown with a 36-yard run, UCLA's longest since 2015. The Bruins also caught a break when Memphis was called for running into the punt returner, allowing UCLA to start its drive at midfield.
Its shorthanded defense is susceptible to ... everything?
Memphis needed only two plays to drive 91 yards for a game-opening score on quarterback Riley Ferguson's two-yard pass to tight end Joey Magnifico that gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The last time UCLA ventured to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium during the regular season, the outcome produced widespread angst among the Bruins and one of the more colorful quotes in the program’s history.
UCLA was one of the first teams to play in the stadium located in Memphis, Tenn., during its inaugural season in 1965 when the Bruins faced Tennessee in November. UCLA coach Tommy Prothro, a Memphis native, contended after the Volunteers’ 37-34 victory that the home team had benefited from three questionable stoppages of play on its winning touchdown drive.
UCLA quarterback Gary Beban said this week that Tennessee was also awarded an extra timeout and referees placed the ball in the middle of the field for the Volunteers on offensive plays in the fourth quarter, providing an advantage for Tennessee quarterback Dewey Warren. The normally composed Prothro became quite agitated after the game.