In last week’s Pro Football Focus report, I singled out defensive lineman Mandy Alonso, safety Joey Blount, linebackers Nick Jackson and Noah Taylor, and cornerback Anthony Johnson as the players the Virginia football needed to “lead the way” on defense if the Hoos are to win their final two games of the season. Although victory escaped UVA, the defense, while not perfect, put the team in position to win despite special teams surrendering a kickoff return for a touchdown and a long punt return that resulted in a field goal.
(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.)
Three Cavalier defenders received overall defense grades over 70 against Pittsburgh. Joey Blount topped the list with a 77.8 mark, while Noah Taylor was third with a 72.5. (We’ll get to who was second down the page.) Nick Jackson earned a 68.3 overall defensive grade, good for fourth overall.
On 3rd-and-4 with the game tied at 7-7,...
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