It’s become a constant refrain in recent weeks; the Virginia defense played well enough to win but the offense could not execute when it counted to deliver a victory. After a 2007 season where Virginia made the key plays to win the close games, setting a record for the most wins in NCAA history by two points or fewer, the tables turned on the Cavaliers this fall, losing two of their final four games by a touchdown or less including one in overtime. The most recent loss, concluded with a game-tying field goal attempt in Virginia’s sight. A field goal Virginia never attempted.
The Hoos slowed down the Hokies in the red zone.
Red Zone Defense. After a stellar season of red zone defense last fall, Virginia entered the game against Tech ranked 77th in the nation in percentage of scores (TD or FG) in the red zone by opposing offenses and 77th in percentage of touchdowns per red zone trips allowed. In its most dominating effort of the season in the red zone, Virginia held the Hokies to just three scores in six tries and limited the Virginia Tech offense to 17 of a possible 42 points. What a difference that type of play all season long could have made on several close outcomes. In its four recent losses prior to VT, Virginia surrendered seven TDs in 12 red zone attempts. In Virginia’s five wins, opponents scored just five TDs in 12 attempts.
Shutting down the run. We noted in our Tech scouting report the importance of shutting down the run and for the most part the Cavaliers did so. Yes, the Hokies netted 216 yards and 4.15 yards per carry. But exclude Tyrod Taylor ‘s 73-yard third quarter scamper and Virginia held Tech to 143 yards rushing and 2.8 YPC, including eight run stuffs. Those are winning numbers and had Virginia added just one more stop, the outcome may have been different.
Forcing third and longs. Again referring to our scouting reports: “One thing however is clear with respect to this situation...
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