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Virginia D grades out surprisingly OK in big loss to Wake

anthony johnson uva
Cornerback Anthony Johnson. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall said his defense played better in Friday night’s 37-17 loss to Wake Forest than it did in the 59-39 loss to North Carolina in Week 3. Pro Football Focus, in its game grades, agrees.

PFF gave the ‘Hoos D an overall 64.6 grade for its effort in the loss, actually the second-best game grade of the season for the unit.

Virginia gave up 473 total yards and allowed the Demon Deacons to score on their first seven possessions, not forcing a punt until midway through the fourth quarter.

And yet, this grade.

Wake offense

Passing game

Wake QB Sam Hartman was 17-of-29 on 32 dropbacks for 270 yards and three TDs. The UVA D got pressure on Hartman on nine dropbacks, and on those dropbacks, he was 0-for-7 passing.

In terms of distance:

  • Line: 1-of-1, 5 yards
  • 0-9: 7-10, 72 yards
  • 10-19: 6-9, 92 yards, 2 TD
  • 20+: 3-of-4, 99 yards, 1 TD

Ground game

The Deacs’ running game gained 203 yards on 45 tries. The damage was focused between the tackles: 30 carries for 154 yards up the A gap (either sides of the nose tackle) and B gap (between the guards and tackles).

UVA defense

D line

Mandy Alonso (76 snaps) graded out at 64.9, with one QB pressure and three tackles.

Jordan Redmond (23 snaps) graded out at 66.8, with two tackles.

Jahmeer Carter (55 snaps) graded out at 56.0, with two QB pressures and three tackles.

Aaron Faumui (44 snaps) graded out at 52.3, with two pressures and one tackle.

Ben Smiley III (27 snaps) graded out at 45.2, with one tackle.


Nick Jackson (76 snaps) led the D with 11 tackles. He graded out at 77.2.

Noah Taylor (76 snaps) had seven tackles, but got dinged for a 44-yard pass play in coverage, and graded out at 55.6.

Other grades: Hunter Stewart (47 snaps, 59.8 grade) and Elliott Brown (26 snaps, 47.7 grade).


Anthony Johnson was targeted 10 times on 73 snaps, allowing six completions for 96 yards and a TD, with two pass breakups (NFL passer rating against: 125.4). He also had eight tackles, and graded out at a team-best 81.4. Not sure about that grade from PFF.

Fentrell Cypress II was targeted seven times on 63 snaps, allowing five completions for 77 yards and a TD (NFL passer rating against: 147.0). He had seven tackles, and his grade was 46.6.

Other grades: Joey Blount (73 snaps, 69.5 grade), Nick Grant (76 snaps, 65.9 grade), De’Vante Cross (79 snaps, 55.2 grade), Josh Hayes (16 snaps, 51.3 grade).

Story by Chris Graham