Vanderbilt, UConn look to shake off latest losses

Sports

Vanderbilt lost its most recent game after a dismal first quarter while UConn fought to the end before falling for the fifth time in as many contests this season.

Two struggling teams will aim to rebound on Saturday night when the Commodores (1-3) host the Huskies (0-5) in Nashville, Tenn.

Music City also was the site of Vanderbilt’s latest loss, a game that saw No. 2 Georgia score 35 points in the first quarter en route to a 62-0 shellacking. The result was the 14th straight Southeastern Conference loss for the Commodores, who will return to conference play next week against Florida.

Ken Seals and Mike Wright combined to complete just 5 of 18 passes for 24 yards with two interceptions. The Commodores’ ground game amassed just 53 yards — 41 from Wright — in the bulldozing by the Bulldogs.

“This is just a point in the progression line. It doesn’t shake us because we understand it doesn’t define us,” Vanderbilt first-year coach Clark Lea said. “This is a delicate ecosystem. We’re in the infancy of our program. This is everything that we’ve talked about all the way up to this point. This is the long, hard way.”

UConn knows all about hard times this season, having already gone through a coaching change. The Huskies, in fact, have lost nine straight games dating to the 2019 season.

After getting blown out in three of their first four games in 2021, the Huskies had a chance to tie their more recent contest before failing to record a successful two-point conversion in the late stages of a 24-22 loss to Wyoming. The undefeated Cowboys entered the game as 30.5-point favorites.

“We’re getting better,” UConn interim coach Lou Spanos said. “Their heads have got to be up, because what they did, they fought. They fought to the end … we’ve got to finish the next opportunity.”

Huskies freshman quarterback Tyler Phommachanh completed 19 of 40 passes for 171 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Wyoming.

While those statistics aren’t dazzling, Phommachanh has provided a spark for a Huskies team that is seeking any semblance of a positive.

“He’s a massive bright spot right now. He definitely energizes the offense,” Huskies cornerback Jeremy Lucien said.

–Field Level Media

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