NASHVILLE, TN — It’s hard to believe that a quarterback who last week set a school scoring record may now be in jeopardy of losing his starting job, but that could be the case with Vanderbilt in the wake of their first defeat this season.
They lost 45-25 to ACC foe Wake Forest in Nashville Saturday, but the issue that emerged is the ineffectiveness of starter Mike Wright and the boost the offense got from number two QB A.J. Swann.
He entered the game late in the third quarter and eventually passed for 146 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for a successful two-point conversion. Wright, who’d accounted for 10 touchdowns over the first two games including six last week, was totally ineffective against Wake Forest. He completed eight of 15 passes for only 35 yards and had an interception returned for a touchdown. Wake Forest put the game out of reach with a 21-point explosion over a 2:15 second first quarter explosion that essentially ended the game. Swann was eight of 11 during his time, though he was also playing in an environment where the game had been decided.
“I felt like early in the game we started fast on defense and were playing competitively,” Vanderbilt head coach Clark Lea told ESPN. “But the interception for a touchdown was a momentum killer. We wanted to represent the program better today, but we didn’t. It’s disappointing.”
However Lea recognizes both his offense and defense have to play better moving forward. The offense only 294 total yards, 113 rushing. The defense got shredded by Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman for 300 yards and four touchdowns. Wake Forest looked every bit like a team ranked 23rd and coming off an appearance in the ACC championship game.
Vanderbilt now has another winnable game on its schedule Saturday against Northern Illinois. They’ve already equaled their season win total from last year, and this loss was an expected one. But having to answer QB questions wasn’t an expectation, and it will be interesting to see who starts at that position for Vanderbilt Saturday,