MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - For a lot of college football teams, using inexperienced players can spell doom for a program. Not so for the Memphis Tigers.
In their 48-45 win over UCLA Saturday, several Tiger cubs were forced to grow up and shine in the spotlight.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Tim Hart came up with a game-changing pick 6 on Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen.
True freshman cornerback TJ Carter also intercepted the Bruins Heisman Trophy candidate--Rosen's first picks of the season and first ever against non-Power 5 competition.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Jacobi Francis made the play to seal the game, batting down a late 4th quarter pass on 4th down.
U of M head coach Mike Norvell said the effort from his young players comes with the message he gives them during recruiting: You don't play if you don't earn it.
Norvell said "keeping it real" is what gets them to respond.
"We don't sell a fairy tale." Norvell said. "We don't tell them how easy it's going to be, and that they're immediately going to come in and jump on the field. They've got to show they're mature enough in the classroom. They have to show they're mature enough in doing things away from the field. They gotta put in the time to prepare themselves physically and mentally to be able to get it done on the field."
The Tigers get back on the field Saturday at 7 against Southern Illinois. You can see that game on WMC Action News 5.