Pro Football Focus: Were There Positive Signs Defensively Vs. Wake?

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Anthony Johnson chases down Wake running back Christian Beal-Smith in Virginia football’s 37-17 loss to the Demon Deacons. Despite yielding 37 points, the defense showed promising signs according to Cavalier head coach Bronco Mendenhall. ~ Photo by Kris Wright/

Pro Football Focus provides comprehensive analysis grades for NCAA Division 1 football teams. Following Virginia football’s 37-17 home loss to Wake Forest, here are the latest highlights and trends from the 2021 season and beyond.

(Note: A Pro Football Focus grade of around 65 is average. The higher the better. A grade in the 70s is above average, while a grade in the 80s and above is very good.)

The Positive Defensive Signs

In his postgame press conference last Friday night, Virginia football head coach Bronco Mendenhall had a tone of positivity regarding his team’s defensive performance in a 37-17 loss to Wake Forest.

“I actually thought we played better defense than we did last week,” he said. “I thought we were more consistent, and I thought we were more executionally sound. I thought we had more positive plays when I was looking out there, from beginning to end. But still, mistakes at critical times. We gave up the long pass early, the deep crosser, and we got to run as well early on where we misfit that run. But then there’s key third downs, key fourth downs, things like that where you have to make those plays to get enough opportunities for your offense to score.