Only eight seconds into the 2020 season, the Virginia defense got dealt its first bit of adversity when UVA lost a fumble on the opening kickoff at the 19-yard line. The Hoos responded by allowing just a field goal and that proved to be just the tip of the iceberg during a strong defensive performance in a 38-20 win against Duke on Saturday.
Just how big of a day did the D have? The Cavaliers forced 7 turnovers in the game with 5 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries, logged 5 sacks, and held the Blue Devils to just 56 rushing yards on 1.5 yards per carry (2.4 sack adjusted). They also allowed just 10 points on two sudden change possessions inside the 20-yard line.
“I think going into the game we just had a really good plan and we had a lot of time to prepare,” Virginia linebacker Zane Zandier said. “Obviously being our first opportunity to come out here and play football, we were all just fired up and I think we executed pretty good in the run game. Like I said, I think we were pretty gap sound defense – still got to watch the tape obviously – but I think we played hard and that’s what you’ve got to do to stop the run.”
Zandier played a monster role in slowing down the Devils. He piled up 15 tackles to set...
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