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Unit Breakdown: Virginia Tech Defense

Virginia Tech is among an elite group of schools.  They are one of three to be playing in 20 consecutive bowl games.  Although this year is uncharacteristic given the Hokies' recent history under Frank Beamer, the team still has a chance to finish above .500 and it starts with their defense. 

National Rankings:

  • 34th Rushing Defense
  • 23rd Pass Efficiency Defense
  • 39th Scoring Defense

Though they are in the top third nationally they don't quite rank as an elite team; however, they are one of the top units in the ACC.

Atlantic Coast Conference Rankings:

  • 3rd Total Defense
  • 3rd Rushing Defense
  • 2nd Scoring Defense
  • 2nd Passing Efficiency Defense

Their defense this year has made up for low offensive numbers.  The Hokies are giving up just 24 points per game.  

Team Statistics:

  • 344 average yards per game, total defense
  • 481 tackles, including 87 tackles for loss
  • 32 sacks
  • 12 interceptions

Players to watch for:

LB Bruce Taylor (SR)- Leads the team in sacks with six this year (five solo, one assist). His five solo sacks has him tied for eight in the ACC and 74th in the nation.  His sacks have caused 48 yards of loss.

LB Jack Tyler (JR)- his 9.33 tackles per game has him ranked fourth in the ACC and 33rd in the country.  He has a total of 112 tackles this year (51 solo, 61 assisted). He is also 10th in the ACC for tackles for loss with just under one per game.

DB Antone Exum (JR) – He leads the ACC in passes defended with 19.  His 1.58 average per game is also tops in the ACC.  His 15 passes broken up is good for fifth in the country. 

Bowl breakdown: 

·      Running Defense: Rutgers averages 125 yards on the ground a game, that’s 102nd overall in the country.  The run game isn’t the best part of their game but if the Hokie defense can stop the run it will force Rutgers QB Gary Nova to throw the ball.

·      Pass Defense: Nova has 22 touchdowns but 15 interceptions.  This is where Exum, who has four interceptions this year, can shine. Rutgers' offensive line has only given up eight sacks this year and if the Hokie linebackers can get Nova pressured they can pick him off.  

About The Author

Justin Kane
Justin Kane Digital Media Assistant

Justin (Orlando, Fla.) is a third-year journalism student at Florida Gulf Coast University. He is also the sports editor of the student-run publication the Eagle News.

In his short career, Justin has press passes ranging from a game at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium to the NCAA tournament.