Vanderbilt scored 21 points in four minutes during the second quarter but allowed 19 unanswered in the second half and lost 40-21
to Connecticut on Saturday.
"They simply just outplayed us in the second half," running back Warren Norman said. "They played more physical up in the trenches and made the plays they needed to in order to win the game. They simply beat us."
A 44-yard touchdown run by freshman wide receiver Jonathan Krause capped the Commodores' offensive outburst and gave them a 21-14 lead with 5:26 to play in the first half. Udom Umoh scored on a 48-yard reception 1:58 earlier, and Brandon Barden had an 8-yard touchdown reception as Vanderbilt (1-3) briefly overcame an early 14-point deficit.
Those three possessions, which were comprised of just 10 plays in all, accounted for 179 of VU’s 326 yards of total offense.
UConn (3-2) tied it before intermission and then pulled away through the final two quarters as the Commodores’ offense managed to move more than nine yards on just two of nine second-half possessions.
The Huskies' nine fourth-quarter points came from the defense, Bidi Wreh-Wilson returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown with 8:33 to go, and then a snap over the head of quarterback Larry Smith resulted in a safety when the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone.
“Their defensive line was able to bring pressure and that led to miscommunication between the receivers and Larry (Smith)," Umoh said. "As receivers, we have to do a better job in coming back to the ball in order to help out Larry."
Smith completed 15 of 25 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns but also threw two interceptions. He also was Vanderbilt's leading rusher with 64 yards on 13 carries as running backs Norman (six rushes, 27 yards) and Zac Stacy (six rushes, 17 yards) were held in check.
On the other hand, UConn's running back, Jordan Todman, rushed for 190 yards on 37 carries. He also scored the game's first two touchdowns.
“He is as good as I have seen," VU coach Robbie Caldwell said. "I have not seen a better running back this season. We knew coming up here that he was a very good player and he proved just how good he was."