50 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff: Penalties & Turnovers

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Virginia won eight games last season.
Bryce Perkins runs away from the UNC defense. ~ Mike Ingalls

Virginia men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett often talks about eliminating things that make you lose before focusing on what it takes to win. For the hardwood Hoos, that means limiting turnovers, securing defensive rebounds, and stopping easy transition baskets for opponents.

UVA football coach Bronco Mendenhall has installed a similar disciplined approach for his team too. For the Cavaliers on the gridiron, that means limiting turnovers, avoiding penalties, and preventing big plays as key things to eliminate losing. Earlier the “50 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff” series looked at the big steps the defense has made in stopping explosive scoring plays. The next article in line focuses on the other two elimination categories.

23 – Penalties & Turnovers

When it comes to penalties, the Cavaliers cleaned up their act in a major way in 2017 with their fewest flags in six years. That team committed just 63 penalties to snap the program’s bowl-less streak. That represented the fewest penalties in a season since the 2011 bowl team had just 69.

Well, last fall, the Hoos raised the ante again. They drew just 59 penalties all season long, which finished 12th nationally. They tied for 12th in fewest penalties per game as well with 4.5. That’s the program’s best effort in 11 years. The 2008