Saturday night’s game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and UConn Huskies was exactly as advertised, and by “exactly as advertised” I mean that it was a game between two of the worst teams in FBS football this season.
Playing in a driving rain, UConn opened the game with a pair of long drives but had to settle for field goals on both of them, sandwiched around a Vanderbilt three-and-out on its first drive. The Commodores would cut it to 6-3 on a 39-yard Joseph Bulovas field goal, and the Commodores would pull ahead early in the second quarter with a 6-play, 80-yard drive capped by Will Sheppard’s first touchdown at Vanderbilt on a pretty 25-yard ball from Ken Seals.
And on UConn’s ensuing drive, it looked like Vanderbilt would force a quick turnover, only...
You wanted Vanderbilt-UConn?— Simon Gibbs (@SimonGibbs26) October 3, 2021
Vanderbilt’s Max Worship intercepts the UConn pass, only to fumble it immediately.
UConn ball, carry on! pic.twitter.com/JRdT0F4P4t
UConn would take advantage of the gift to tack on another field goal to make the score 10-9. The Commodores would extend the lead with another touchdown, this one on a 1-yard Rocko Griffin run to cap a 13-play, 77-yard drive, but UConn would respond just before halftime with its first touchdown and made the score 17-16 going into the break.
And then, in the third quarter, things got extra sloppy. Vanderbilt opened up with a three-and-out, then UConn found themselves in business after going 56 yards in three plays to get the ball to the Vanderbilt 12... and then, four plays later, the Huskies shanked a 22-yard field goal attempt. Not to be outdone, Seals threw a really bad interception to give the ball right back to the Huskies at the Vanderbilt 26, and then UConn went nine yards in four plays to give it right back on downs. Back to back punts kept the score at 17-16 to end the third quarter.
The Commodores would put together a good drive to begin the fourth quarter, only to settle for a 27-yard Joseph Bulovas field goal after the drive bogged down (to put it nicely) in the red zone. UConn’s next drive ended with a Gabe Jeudy-Lally interception, and finally, Vanderbilt capitalized on a UConn mistake with Will Sheppard walking into the end zone on his second touchdown of the night, a 38-yard pass from Seals to make the score 27-16.
Will Sheppard’s second touchdown of the evening pic.twitter.com/Wdeq07BT6k— Chad Bishop (@MrChadBishop) October 3, 2021
But UConn wasn’t quite done. The Huskies would go 79 yards in nine plays to score, then shot themselves in the foot yet again with a false start flag (on the entire offensive line) on the two-point try, which they then missed.
More dumb football, of course, was on the way — and this time it was definitely not in Vanderbilt’s favor. After UConn drew an intentional grounding penalty to set up a 4th and 18 on their own 42, the Huskies somehow threw a jump ball for a first down. Three plays later, UConn would score the go-ahead touchdown but missed another two-point try to make it 28-27.
That would allow Vanderbilt to win the game. The Commodores benefited from a couple of dumb penalties by UConn, but with the game on the line, and even after UConn used all three of its timeouts, Joseph Bulovas nailed the game-winner to send Vanderbilt home with a 30-28 win.