UConn football loses in the last second to Vanderbilt, 30-28
UConn’s football took an early lead and also gained a lead late in the fourth quarter, but still lost to Vanderbilt, 30-28, falling to 0-6 this season.
Playing their fourth game under the guidance of interim head coach Lou Spanos, the game almost had a storybook end for the Huskies. An intentional ground penalty from Steven Krajewski placed UConn in 4th and 18th place. In the play that followed, Krajewski pushed the ball to the right side of the field. The ball was knocked over, but Kevens Clercius miraculously touched it.
Playing after an early injury to starter Tyler Phommachanh, UConn’s backup quarterback then galloped 17 yards into the end zone to put the Huskies ahead, 28-27. For a brief moment, victory seemed within UConn’s grasp.
But as much as it would have been a fairytale ending, UConn couldn’t hold out. The Huskies’ inexperience led to a 47-yard run that resulted in a winning field goal for Vanderbilt.
UConn was the better team in the first quarter, as Tyler Phommachanh designed two solid practices that resulted in field goals, giving the Huskies a 6-0 lead.
Meanwhile, UConn’s defense looked like a whole different unit than the one playing against Purdue, Fresno State, and Army. The players finished their tackles, Llwal Uguak and Travis Jones, finally in good health, disturbed Vanderbilt in the backfield. The Huskies limited them to just three points in the first quarter.
Phommachanh picked up where he left off against Wyoming, making it in the air and on the ground, but it was the ground match that ultimately ended his night. On a non-contact injury on a quarterback, he appeared to injure his leg. The young signalman left the game, and returned from the locker room on crutches and without pads.
It looked like the wheels were about to come off for the Huskies. Vanderbilt’s offense finally came to life with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, and UConn only managed one field goal in response. They got a chance to get revenge after Krajewski threw an interception which was later missed by the interceptor and recovered by UConn.
Luck returned in UConn’s favor just before half-time was over, as a deep ball from Krajewski turned into a spectacular touchdown from Keelan Marion, who passed defender Vanderbilt to bring him back, placing UConn to one at halftime. , 17-16.
UConn left plenty of opportunities on the table in the second half. Krajewski and the Huskies offense hit Vanderbilt’s red zone twice in the third quarter, once missing a field goal at the five-yard line and once flipping it on the downs.
Vanderbilt took advantage, scoring in back-to-back practices with a field goal and a touchdown to widen the lead to 27-16 at the end of the fourth quarter.
But the Huskies weren’t done. Krajewski put aside his tough times to lead a touchdown with a catch from Marion and an acrobatic catch from Kevin Clercius, trailing the Huskies to one point with 5:06 left in the fourth quarter.
UConn’s defense held its end and held Vanderbilt to a three-and-out, and the offense had a chance to make him count. After Krajewski’s touchdown run, a personal foul on the kickoff team gave Vanderbilt a formidable field position, and a pass interference penalty gave them an even better opportunity to kick the ball. winning foot.
Running back Nate Carter ran 123 yards at an impressive 5.1 yards per carry, an impressive clip considering the Huskies’ running woes all year round. Krajewski completed 18 of 34 passes for 264 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, as well as the rushed TD. Marion (4 rec, 102 yards, 1 TD), Jay Rose (5 rec, 91 yards) and Clercius (4 rec, 68 yards, 1 TD) were his favorite targets.
Despite the loss, UConn continues to show signs of progress under Spanos. With a road game at UMass on the schedule next week and a home game against Yale the following week, the Huskies stand a chance of securing a few wins if they can keep playing better. Losing Phommachanh is incredibly unhappy considering how well he had it, but it looks like Krajewski could be solid under center as well.