50 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff: Reducing Explosive Touchdowns

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Virginia won a bowl game in 2018.
Bronco Mendenhall’s defense started to stop opponents’ big scoring plays last season. ~ Kris Wright

For years, it was a sight that Virginia football fans got frustratingly used to seeing. Opponent on offense. Defense hanging in there. Boom. Big scoring play.

While the Cavaliers sometimes could survive those breakdowns, opponents’ explosive scoring plays often contributed to losses. Somewhere along the way last season, however, the UVA defense turned a corner.

The “50 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff” series continues.

36 – Reducing Explosive Touchdowns

Through changing coordinators, different opponents, and varying locations, Virginia’s defense had a problem for a number of seasons. No matter how well or poorly the defense might be playing overall, the Hoos had a tendency to allow opponents to score long touchdowns.

In fact, from 2010 through 2017 the Cavaliers allowed 101 touchdowns of 25 yards or more in 98 games. That’s an average of 1.03 per game. That’s despite three different coordinators being in charge of the defense, changing schemes, and obviously varying players.

Jim Reid ran the UVA defense from 2010 to 2012. His teams allowed 31 touchdowns of 25+ yards in 37 games. That’s an