After all the film was reviewed by players and coaches in the postgame breakdown of
Close, but not quite.
That's how U.Va.'s players and coaches are approaching the discouraging reality that the defense simply isn't creating turnovers.
U.Va. enters Saturday's game against
"There's little things you can continue to keep doing, but you've got to keep pressing the players about creating the turnovers and the mindset of doing that," said U.Va. coach
"Once one happens, a lot of times they start coming, and we just need to have the game where those opportunities occur for us."
Though U.Va. (2-4, 0-2) is credited with three takeaways, only two of those were actually caused by the defense — both coming in a 27-7 loss at Texas Christian. One of U.Va.'s takeaways came via a muffed punt by
"It's pretty frustrating," said free safety
U.Va. held Duke to 3 of 14 on third-down conversions, but the Cavaliers have otherwise been marginal on third-down conversion defense. They're eighth in the ACC and 56th in the nation in third-down conversion defense, giving up first downs 36.6 percent of the time.
U.Va., which has lost four consecutive games, only has one interception. U.Va.'s sports information department has team statistics back to the 1946 season. Since that point, U.Va.'s lowest season totals for interceptions were seven in 1955, '65 and '75.
The lack of takeaways could be partially attributed to a nearly non-existent pass rush. U.Va. has just four sacks, which is tied with
London said he talked with his defensive coaching staff about getting a better rotation of defensive linemen in games. He was particularly disturbed by the increased number of players that needed intravenous fluids at halftime of the Duke game.
In addition to the dearth of interceptions, U.Va.'s defense could surpass a few other dubious marks it hasn't come close to since that '75 season, in which the Cavaliers went 1-10.
U.Va. is surrendering 34 points per game. The last time a U.Va. team gave up more points per game was in the '75 season, when opponents averaged 38.9 points per contest.
U.Va. is on pace to give up 52 passing and rushing touchdowns in a 12-game season, which would be the most since the '75 team gave up 58 touchdowns to opposing offenses in 11 games.
Maryland could provide some assistance for U.Va. in its efforts to boost takeaways. The Terrapins are last in the ACC in turnovers with 16, including a conference-worst 10 lost fumbles. Maryland is also ninth in the ACC in third-down conversions, picking up first downs on just 36.1 percent of third-down plays.