Sept. 10, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt held the University of Connecticut offense to 193 yards, 118 of rushing by redshirt freshman Lyle McCombs(Staten Island, N.Y.), as the Commodores posted a 24-21 win over the Huskies before a crowd of 32,119 at Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday night.
UConn drops to 1-1 on the season while Vanderbilt is 2-0. McCombs rushed for his 118 yards on 27 carries and has now rushed for at least 100 yards in his first two collegiate games.
Husky junior quarterback Johnny McEntee(Fullerton, Calif.) was 10 of 27 in the air for 99 yards, but had three interceptions.
Larry Smith was 12 of 24 in the air for 140 yards while Jerron Seymour had eight carries for 70 yards.
On Vanderbilt's first drive of the fourth quarter, redshirt freshman Yawin Smallwood (Worcester, Conn.) returned a fumble 64 yards with 10:34 left to go, giving UConn its first lead of the game, as the Huskies took a 21-14 lead. On the fumble return, Vandy had the ball at the UConn 36 and Sio Moore's(Apex, N.C.) hit of Smith jarred the ball loose and Smallwood was home free.
After the UConn defense forced Vanderbilt to punt on their ensuing drive, McEntee threw his third interception of the night, as Robby Barbieri returned the interception 50 yards to tie the game at 21-21.
Vanderbilt was able to take the lead with 2:56 left, as Carey Spear converted a 31-yard field goal for the 24-21 Vandy advantage.
UConn trailed 14-3 at halftime, but scored the only ten points of the third quarter to make it 14-13 entering the final stanza. On Vanderbilt's third play from scrimmage of the second half, junior Jory Johnson (Mobile, Ala.) picked off a Smith pass to give UConn the ball at the Vandy 17. UConn could only move the ball six yards to set up a 28-yard field goal by senior kicker Dave Teggart(Northborough, Mass.).
The Huskies then cut the lead to a point, 14-13, as redshirt freshman Byron Jones(New Britain, Conn.) blocked a punt in the endzone. It was UConn's first blocked punt since 2008 and the first for a TD since 2002.
Connecticut moved the ball efficiently on the first possession of the game as it marched the ball to the Commodore 12-yard line with a first down. The Huskies could only manage four more yards, which set up a 25-yard field goal by Teggart. The field goal gave Teggart the UConn career scoring record with 262 points, which he extended later in the game.
Vanderbilt went four and out on its first possession, but McEntee threw a first down interception picked off by Kenny Ladler that put the ball at the UConn 42. Vanderbilt came right back on the next play with a 42-yard TD pass from Smith to Chris Boyd to give the Commodores a 7-3 lead.
Vandy took a 14-3 lead on a 40-yard rush by Seymour on a second and ten play that capped a six-play 80 yard drive. The Commodores had 134 yards of total offense in the first quarter and 82 of them came on scoring plays.
The Commodores maintained the lead 14-3 at halftime after a second quarter that did not feature any scoring as UConn only had 35 yards of total offense with VU having 28.
UConn returns to action next Friday when it takes on Iowa State at 8:00 p.m. at Rentschler Field. The Cyclones come into the game with a 2-0 record after a triple overtime win over Iowa on Saturday afternoon. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and on the WTIC-UConn Radio Network.