UVA defense shines against NC State without key players
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 Sports) – Despite the bizarre finish from Friday night's ACC opener against NC State, there were still some positives to take away from the game. One of them being the play of their defense, who allowed a season-low 24 points and recorded their first interception of the season.
Josh Ahern, Paul Akere and Coen King were all sidelined due to injury and that injury list grew with the loss of Kam Butler in the second quarter. The losses forced players like Micah Gaffney, Bryce Carter and Kam Robinson to see increased reps with the first-team defense.
"Proud of those guys for stepping up," UVA head coach Tony Elliott said after the game. "This is a game of next man up. Nobody cares if you don't have depth. I know they had some players down and you got to go play. You got to go do the job. That's why when you practice, you have to have the mindset that there's no first team, second team, third team. Everybody is first team ready to play."
The team's first interception of the season came from Micah Gaffney early in the second quarter when he picked off NC State quarterback Brennan Armstrong inside their 25-yard line and Robinson dazzled in his first career start, recording a career-high 11 tackles.
"We just played with a lot of heart and effort today," Robinson said. "We haven't had no sacks or takeaways as coach says 'swipers', so we were just trying to get after the quarterback and get the ball in our hands and get the offense in good field possession."
The defense will have a chance to build off of this performance at Boston College on Saturday against an offense that is also trying to find its footing this season.