Despite a 35-20 victory, the ECU grades show there are plenty of areas for the Cavaliers to work on prior to their ACC showdown with North Carolina. Our trend report shows a disturbing issue from earlier in the season reappeared against ECU, one that could have a huge impact against the Heels and Georgia Tech. Special teams play continues to be a sore subject as well. Overall there are good things to report, although the running back grade may surprise you.
The defense stayed on schedule and kept ECU mostly in check.
Winning down-and-distance schedule. Last week against the Terps, the Cavaliers did a superb job forcing Maryland to win with sustained drives and mitigating the big play threat. Our ECU Scouting reported noted the Pirates struggles to create explosive plays and highlighted the importance of forcing sustained drives to score. Defenses disrupt down-and-distance schedules with disruptive plays (sacks, turnovers, tackles for loss) and Virginia produced 21 disruptive plays Saturday afternoon. Nine of Virginia’s 10 tackles for loss, four of the five QB pressures, five of the teams six sacks, and both forced turnovers occurred on first or second down.
As ECU coach Skip Holtz explained in his postgame comments that was a key area where Carolina could not execute against the Hoos. “We don’t do anything as consistent enough as we need to, and we don’t have the home run player we had a year ago, we don’t have a receiver who’s going to run by anybody, we don’t have a tailback that’s going to outrun everybody. So we’ve got to take the ball and we’ve got to methodically move it down the field and if one play we get no gain or move it back a yard, we’re behind the chains. We don’t do it consistently enough and that’s the biggest problem with our offensive football team right now.”
Tackling. In the loss to Connecticut, we unofficially assigned 22 missed tackles to the Hoos, which led to 216 yards after contact. After witnessing a strong improvement in tackling
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