Preview: UConn searches for first win versus Vanderbilt 

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The Huskies may have their best chance at securing a win this Saturday despite missing some key pieces of their team.  

For the Huskies, tackle Travis Jones is still out, along with linebacker Omar Fortt and defensive back Myles Bell. Defense has been a huge problem for UConn, and with important players out of the game, its backup options will certainly need to step up to grab the team’s first win of the season. 

For the offense, there are certainly bright spots and as head coach Lou Spanos said, the team is looking to improve after every game and is certainly trending in the right direction. Quarterback Tyler Phommachanh continues to prove his worth for UConn, especially after the team’s close loss to Wyoming. The freshman’s clear athletic prowess and mobility have kept defenders on their feet and alongside offensive analyst Noel Mazzone, the duo is definitely turning heads.  

After an encouraging performance against Wyoming, Nathaniel Carter continues to head UConn’s running back core after the controversial replacement of Kevin Mensah. Carter, who had one touchdown and 65 yards in last week’s matchup against Wyoming, will look to keep improving when playing the Commodores. 

The team continues to stay with its freshmen receiving core driven by Aaron Turner, who led the Huskies in receiving yards in their previous matchup. Alongside Turner, Keelan Marion, Kevens Clercius and tight-end Jay Rose are the other receiving options for Phommachanh. Rose, who caught Phommachanh’s trick play in last Saturday’s matchup, will look to provide another spark for the Huskies in this matchup.  

Vanderbilt is certainly not having the season it is hoping for, either. Despite opening as the 14-point favorite against the Huskies, the team is not in the best position. The Commodores, led by first-year coach Clark Lea, are coming off a putrid 62-0 loss against a powerhouse Georgia team and now must look to rebound from the demoralizing loss. Quarterback Ken Seals has not looked great for Vanderbilt and has more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3) on the season for the team. After their blowout loss to Georgia, the Commodore defense is at its lowest level of the season and looks to contain Phommachanh before anything gets out of hand. “I’m interested in when we can find our highest level performance,” said Lea.  

After UConn’s close loss to Wyoming, this is certainly its best chance at a win this year. Despite this game taking place at Vanderbilt Stadium and requiring Spanos to fill a few holes, there is no better time for the team to grab an upset win. The team absolutely needs to capitalize on this opportunity and the pressure on this team to win is perhaps at its highest this year. 

UConn vs. Vanderbilt will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. The exciting matchup will be broadcast on ESPNU.  

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