Cavaliers' defense continues to shine even in defeat

MIAMI, Fl. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The Virginia defense knew coming into Friday night's game at Miami it would be another defensive showdown and despite the loss, both defenses lived up to the billing.

"It was a defensive game and we knew that coming in and they were just a little more efficient than we were," junior free safety Joey Blount said.

Even in defeat, the Cavaliers held the Hurricanes to just 17 points in the game, tied for their lowest scoring game of the season with the other coming in a 17-12 win over Central Michigan.

"I think our defense had a good game, we played hard, effort-wise it was all there," Blount added, "We gave the offense enough opportunities and their defense was stout as well."

The defense faced early adversity with senior cornerback Bryce Hall going down with a lower leg injury in the second quarter, but Bronco Mendenhall said they responded well.

"Our defense played really, really well once Bryce Hall went down," Mendenhall said, "Adjusting to what it's like to play defense without him and what that identity looks like, that was a moving target right at the end of the game."

The Wahoo defense was also able to continue getting pressure on the quarterback, coming up with three sacks and nine tackles for loss. Virginia is currently tied for second in the nation with 27 sacks, just one behind Ohio State with 28, and tied for fourth in TFL's with 53.

"As a defense, I think this entire year we've gotten good pressure on the quarterback and I think we did that well tonight," junior inside linebacker Zane Zandier said, "I mean he got out a few times, but I think we did pretty good getting pressure on the quarterback."

The Virginia defense as a whole has only allowed 273.7 total yards per game this season, which ranks 11th nationally.

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