After an outstanding defensive showing against Texas last week, Virginia definitely exposed a few flaws in our defense that hopefully can be swiftly corrected this week in practice. While we won the game, the defense certainly did not give our youthful offense much help. How did our defense fare against the University of Virginia Cavaliers … let’s have a look!
The Notre Dame defense allowed Virginia’s offense 22 first downs. The Virginia offense had 127 net yards rushing, 289 net yards passing for a total of 416 yards. The Cavalier offense had possession of the ball for over 33 minutes. They were able to convert on third down 6 of 14 times (0.429) and converted on fourth down 1 of 1 times (1.000). Virginia’s time of possession was a big factor in this game, especially with a Notre Dame offense lead by a youthful quarterback trying to find a way to make a comeback win.
|Net Yards Rushing||253||127|
|Net Yards Passing||207||289|
|Total Offense Yards||460||416|
|Fumbles: Number-Lost||0 – 0||1 – 1|
|Penalties: Number-Yards||4 – 40||9 – 55|
|Punts – Yards||4 – 223||5 – 236|
|Third-Down Conversions||0 of 10 (0.000)||6 of 14 (0.429)|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||2 of 3 (0.667)||1 of 1 (1.000)|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||1-11||2-6|
|Field Goals||2-3 (0.667)||0-1 (0.000)|
Looking at the numbers you can see the defense definitely had a busy day, they just weren’t very successful at stopping or slowing down Virginia’s offense. The Notre Dame secondary seemed to struggle all day and continued to let the receivers they were covering get behind them and as a result make big plays. But, our big performers were the usual suspects.
Jaylon Smith had six solo tackles and five assists, Elijah Shumate had six solo tackles and four assists, KeiVarae Russell had seven solo tackles, two assists and the lone sack of the game, Isaac Rochelle had three solo tackles and four assists, and Joe Schmidt had two solo tackles and four assists. Senior Sheldon Day and fifth year senior Matthias Farley each only had one tackle. Somehow the coaching staff has to figure out how to get those two a more active role in the defense in coming games.
The other thing that I feel is missing this year on the defense is a clear leader. I have yet to see one person step up to lead the defense and rally the troops. I loved seeing KeiVarae Russell giving Justin Yoon the pep talk of his life at the end of the game (and thank goodness we didn’t need to place the outcome of the game on the freshman’s shoulders), but I don’t see anyone doing that with the defensive squad. I think the emergence of a clear leader will do a lot for this defense moving forward.
Notre Dame Player Solo Ast Tot TFL/Yds FF FR-Yd Intc BrUp Blkd Sack/Yds ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jaylon Smith 6 5 11 2.5/8 . . . . . .
Elijah Shumate 6 4 10 . . . . . . .
KeiVarae Russell 7 2 9 1.0/11 1 . . . . 1.0/11
Isaac Rochell 3 4 7 1.0/4 . . . . . .
Joe Schmidt 2 4 6 . . . . 1 . .
Cole Luke 3 2 5 . . . . 2 . .
Devin Butler 2 1 3 . . . . . . .
Daniel Cage 2 1 3 . . . . . . .
Max Redfield 1 2 3 . . . . 1 . .
Drue Tranquill 1 2 3 0.5/2 . . . . . .
James Onwualu 1 2 3 . . . . . . .
While the defense does have me a tad bit nervous, looking forward to Georgia Tech, there is no doubt in my mind that our highly talented coaching staff can have the boys ready to give it their all on Saturday. And with a little luck of the Irish, we’ll be 3-0 heading into the next week!
Cheers & GO IRISH!