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UConn Huskies 40, Vanderbilt Commodores 21

Now that was more like it. This is the type of performance I was expecting from UConn in the preseason, and it couldn't come at a better time, with Big East play starting next week.

Jordan Todman was stellar as usual, Cody Endres turned in a solid, if unspectacular, performance that is exactly what the Huskies needed, and outside of a brutal 5-minute stretch in the second quarter, the defense did a good job shutting down Vanderbilt.

Now, the obvious caveat is that we were playing Vanderbilt, who is an SEC team, but not a very good one. I still don't want to get too carried away, but UConn fans have to be happy about the way the season is going at the moment.

Here are just a few of my thoughts after the game:

The Good:

  • Jordan Todman, who continues to amaze. Randy Edsall seems to have abandoned the platoon strategy he deployed earlier this season. Todman got 37 of UConn's 45 carries and took advantage, piling up 190 yards on the ground. He added two touchdowns and had a nice catch early that set up UConn's first touchdown.
  • Cody Endres, who only had 179 yards, but completed 21 of his 30 pass attempts. He seems to be on the same page with his receivers, and though the passes usually aren't going deep, they're getting to their man and helping UConn move the ball, which is all they really need to do. The one caveat, Endres was 14-17 in the first half, but slipped to a 7-13 mark in the second half.
  • The receiving corps, which seems completely transformed now that Endres is throwing to them, especially Mike Smith and Dwayne Difton, who both had very good games. Smith had four grabs for 63 yards, including a spectacular diving catch that got UConn back on track in the second quarter. Difton added six grabs and 58 yards.
  • The front seven. Lawrence Wilson and Sio Moore both had fine games, with nine and eight tackles respectively. The D-line seemed to be in Vanderbilt's backfield all game and picked up five sacks. 

This was a good win, but it certainly wasn't perfect. Hit the jump to see the bad and the ugly.

The Bad:

  • Just like last week, UConn jumped out to an early lead and then let it slip away before rallying and finishing strong. You can get away with that against Buffalo and Vanderbilt, but if they keep up that habit in the Big East, someone is going to punish them for it. 
  • The secondary once again gave up some very big plays, including a very hard to watch 48-yard TD pass to Udom Umoh. We knew the secondary was going to be UConn's weak point, and though the two timely picks were nice, UConn really needs them to limit the big plays. If the offense keeps playing like it did today, it can cover some of these mistakes, but they shouldn't have to.

The Ugly:

  • Fumbles. Oh my God the fumbles. If the secondary doesn't kill this team, being careless with the ball will. This was the fourth game of the season where UConn has fumbled the ball in the redzone.I can't figure out why this is suddenly a problem, but it is an absolute killer and could wind up haunting the Huskies more than it already has.
  • That five-minute stretch in the second quarter. In the blink of an eye, UConn went from being up 14 to down seven. I covered this a bit up in "The Bad," but man was it brutal to watch. Seeing as UConn dominated the other 55 minutes, I can only assume this was a mental lapse. It cannot happen again.