A week after getting walloped by Georgia, the Vanderbilt Commodores (1-3) is heavy favorites against a Connecticut Huskies (0-5) squad that might be the worst team in the nation. Here are the three keys to a Vandy win:
By Steve Wright
1 – Start better
It would be hard to start much worse than the ‘Dores did last time out against Georgia. Vandy was in a 35-0 hole after the first quarter, setting a record as the biggest first-quarter deficit in a game between Power Five teams since 2013. UConn – obviously – doesn’t have the same level of offense as the Bulldogs, but it can be easy to slip into a pattern when a team is low on confidence. Vandy needs to flip the script and come out hot here against a UConn team that has already been shut out twice this season.
2 – Offensive output
This should finally be a game where Ken Seals and the Vanderbilt offense get things going. The ‘Dores are in the 120s nationally in most offense stats, something that obviously needs to improve. One specific area that head coach Clark Lea should be focusing on is yards per play. Vandy is 126th in the country in that stat at just 4.01 yards per play. UConn allows almost 235 rushing yards per game so it is time for the offensive line to step up and create some holes, while Seals should get some joy against a defense that has allowed the most passing touchdowns nationally (14).
3 – More energy from the top down
The Lea era has been a little underwhelming so far. The loss to ETSU should never have been a thing and while this roster clearly lacks completeness in a lot of areas there are players and position groups (wide receiver being one) where Vandy should be better. This is a more than winnable game and after the thumping last week it is going to be important that Lea sets a tone by getting the energy right on the sideline and pushing the players to be better.