MEMPHIS -- University of Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson threw for 398 yards and six touchdowns, and the Tigers' defense came up with two key second-half interceptions to upset No. 25 UCLA 48-45 Saturday.
Ferguson finished one touchdown shy of a school record in leading the Tigers (2-0) to their third victory over a Top 25 Power Five conference opponent in as many seasons.
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen passed for 463 yards and four touchdowns but was intercepted twice. UCLA (2-1) finished with 633 yards.
Memphis receiver Anthony Miller had nine catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
In an offensive-oriented game, it was a defensive play by Memphis defensive back Jacobi Francis that secured the victory. Francis stepped in front of UCLA receiver Darren Andrews to bat down a Rosen pass on fourth-and-5 from the UCLA 47 with 56 seconds to go.
The Tigers stepped up minutes earlier when freshman cornerback T.J. Carter intercepted Rosen at the Memphis 10-yard line with 6:50 to go, returning it 42 yards to midfield.
Memphis failed to convert the turnover into points but took three minutes off the clock, driving to the UCLA 16, where a fake field goal try was unsuccessful.
UCLA took over at its 20 before its final drive fizzled near midfield.
Leading by three at the half, the Tigers extended their lead to 34-24 on the opening drive of the third quarter. Miller ended a penalty-plagued 75-yard drive with a 12-yard catch.
UCLA answered in two plays with Rosen hitting Andrews for a 65-yard touchdown. Rosen was picked off by linebacker Tim Hart on the next UCLA possession, with Hart rambling 60 yards for a 41-31 Memphis advantage.
Unfazed, Rosen went back to work and tossed a 21-yard TD pass to Jordan Lasley to trim the margin to three. Rosen gave UCLA a 45-41 lead early in the fourth by directing a 99-yard drive in six plays. Rosen was 5-for-5 passing for 95 yards on the lengthy drive, ending with a 22-yard scoring pass to Austin Roberts.
Memphis needed only four plays to recapture the lead, 48-45. With Miller making a 34-yard reception during the drive, the Tigers scored on a 3-yard pass from Ferguson to Phil Mayhue with 9:56 left.
After struggling in the first quarter, Ferguson settled into a rhythm in the second. After going 2-of-7 passing for 4 yards in the opening quarter, he went 8-of-12 in the second for 224 yards and three touchdowns. His 33-yard TD pass to Miller with 42 seconds left in the half gave the Tigers a 27-24 lead.
Memphis outgained the Bruins 327 to 307 in total yards in the first half.
The Tigers held the Bruins on the game's opening possession and quickly grabbed a 7-0 lead. Running back Darrell Henderson darted 80 yards on the U of M's first play from scrimmage and on first-and-goal from 2 Ferguson found tight end Joey Magnifico for the score.
Behind Rosen, UCLA recovered with three straight scores for a 17-7 advantage early in the second quarter. Jalen Starks (7-yard run) and Jordan Wilson (5-yard reception) got the touchdowns on short drives. Starks set up Wilson's TD with a 50-yard catch.
Memphis and Ferguson discovered the effectiveness of quick screens to running backs regain the advantage, 20-17. Ferguson found Patrick Taylor for a 47-yard TD midway through the second quarter and Tony Pollard for a 42-yard TD late in the second
Rosen directed an 80-yard drive in 10 plays for a 24-20 UCLA lead, scoring on a 1-yard keeper, but Memphis followed with Ferguson-to-Miller connections. The first was a spectacular diving reception of 41 yards to the UCLA 33. The second was the TD grab.
NOTES: With UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen considered the potential top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, scouts from five teams -- the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals -- attended the game. ... Former University of Memphis coach Rip Scherer, who led the Tigers from 1994 to 2000 and recorded an upset win over a Peyton Manning-led Tennessee team in 1996, returned to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Scherer coaches UCLA tight ends and serves as senior associate head coach. ... Memphis played without its top returning rusher, senior Doroland Dorceus, who has been battling an injury since the season began. ... Memphis freshman LB J.J. Russell had to be taken from the field on a cart after being knocked out on a late-first half kickoff return by UCLA. ... Memphis freshman PK Riley Patterson missed an extra-point attempt in the first half, snapping a string of 214 consecutive PATs made by the Tigers, dating to 2012. . . . UCLA DL Osa Odighizuwa was ejected with 11:03 left following a targeting penalty after his helmet-to-helmet hit of QB Riley Ferguson.