A Closer Look: UVA's defense

The Hurricanes will take on the University of Virginia tomorrow so lets take a closer look at what their defensive unit brings to the table.

Rush Defense: 71st
Pass Defense: 36th
Total Defense: 46th
Scoring Defense: 48th
Fumble Recoveries: 24th
Interceptions: 33rd
Turnovers Caused: 26th
Pass Efficiency Defense: 49th
Sacks: 15th
TFL's: 42nd
Third-down Defense: 69th
Red Zone Defense: 64th

Like the offensive unit, Virginia's defense has made tremendous improvement since the first part of the season. In their first three games against Division 1 opponents, UVA allowed 42.6 points per game. In their last four, they've allowed just 12.4 per game. During the recent four-game winning streak, the Cavs are allowing just 294 total yards per game. The Cavs will be the only team Miami faces the entire regular season that runs a 3-4 with their base defense.

Defensive Line: -- The three-man front is huge. Defensive ends Alex Field (senior) and Matt Conrath (redshirt freshman) both go 6-7 and 270. Field has 27 tackles and 2.5 sacks on the season. Conrath has 18 tackles and three sacks on the season. Both players were two-star recruits coming out of high school and are in their first seasons as starters. Junior Nate Collins (6-2/280) is the nose guard and he has 22 tackles and 0 sacks on the season. Redshirt freshman Nick Jenkins (6-3/285) will also play a lot inside. The former four-star recruit has 14 tackles and one interception on the season.

This unit is giving up 4.43 yards per carry on the ground and they've registered just 6.5 sacks in 223 pass attempts.

Linebackers: -- This unit is led by All-American candidate Clint Sintim (6-3/254). The talented senior has 49 tackles and 9.5 sacks on the season so far. He's as good an edge rusher as the Canes will face all season. He has 26 career sacks. Senior Jon Cooper (6-0/230) is the leading tackler with 67 while senior Antonio Appleby (6-4/250) and junior Denzel Burrell (6-4/230) round out the unit. Appleby, a four-star recruit coming out of high school, has 46 tackles and one sack on the season. He had five tackles and a sack against the Hurricanes last season.

The top three players (Sintim, Cooper, and Appleby) are all seniors so they're well schooled and disciplined. The three have 693 combined tackles in their careers. The entire linebacker unit has combined for 15.5 sacks on the season. This is clearly the strength of the defense for the Cavs.

Defensive Backs: -- Junior Vic Hall (5-9/190), sophomore Ras-I Dowling (6-2/200), and sophomore Mike Parker (6-2/200) are the top corners. Dowling has five career picks and seems like the big play guy of the group. Hall has a couple picks this season, while Parker has no career interceptions. All three were two-star recruits coming out of high school.

Senior Byron Glespy (5-11/206) leads the safeties with 38 tackles and one interception. He had a pick against the Canes in the Orange Bowl last year. Redshirt freshman Corey Mosley (5-10/197) has 26 tackles on the season.

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