Here are 5 things you should know about the Memphis football program.
5. Their Most Famous Alumni Include Actors, Politicians and NFL Stars
This includes actress Dixie Carter, Congressman Steve Cohen and Fred Thompson, who spent decades acting and serving as U.S.Senator.
Isaac Bruce, a wide receiver, was a second-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1994 and compiled 1,024 receptions over 14 years in the NFL. He caught 113 balls in two seasons on the field at Memphis in 1992-93.
Other than Williams and Gostkowski, OL Ray Brown LB/DE Tim Harris and LB Keith Butler are among the standouts from the program. There are currently 12 players out of the program active on NFL rosters. Dontari Poe, Ronald Leary, Gostkowski and Paxton Lynch are the biggest names.
4. The Tigers' Coaching Tree Includes Super Bowl Champs
Justin Fuente, now at Viginia Tech, was the Tigers' head coach from 2012-15, and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was a grad assistant in 1996.
The current staff incudes head coach Mike Norville, who set the school record for wins in a first year at the helm with eight a year ago.
3. Memphis Finished No. 14 in the Nation in Total Yards in 2016
And they brought back most of the talent that got them there. If UCLA thinks this a walk-over game versus a Group of 5 school, they're in for a rude awakening.
The Tigers passed for more than 300 yards per game last season and ran for nearly 160 per contest. They scored 34 versus a good Temple defense, 42 versus South Florida and 44 against Top 20 Houston last November.
The Tigers lost Chip Long to Notre Dame this offseason, but new offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey isn't new to the scheme nor the program, moving up from running backs coach to a dual role.
Dickey's track record of success as an OC is remarkable, starting at UTEP in the mid-90s and moving to North Texas and Utah State, achieving high levels of success at each stop. Dickey and Norville are offensive minds with varying strengths — Dickey with the running game and Norville with creative passing attacks.
2. QB Riley Ferguson Has a Chance to Finish as Tigers' No. 3 All-Time Leading Passer
Despite having just two seasons to do it, Ferguson, who sat behind Lynch for two years, could end up the No. 3 all-time leading passer in yardage. He threw for 3,680 yards a year ago, the No. 2 season ever behind Lynch. He needs just under 2,000 yards the rest of this season to pass Martin Hankins for No. 3.
Lynch ended his career with 8,863 yards, which seems like a lofty goal for Ferguson, but Lynch had three seasons.
Ferguson needs 28 TD passes to move into second place all-time at Memphis, ahead of Lynch and behind only Danny Wimprine, who threw 81 TD passes from 2001-2004.
1. Anthony Miller is Really Good
Miller, a legit wide receiver prospect for the draft class of 2018, needs just 23 receptions to move into the No.2 spot and 71 to break the schools all-time receptions record.
Miller is also just 864 yards from breaking Duke Calhoun's receiving yards record at the school after breaking Bruce's single-season record a year ago — by nearly 400 yards. Miller needs but four TD receptions to set the all-time mark at Memphis.