Virginia Tech-UNC Review: Hokie Defense Outduels UNC Offense

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Virginia Tech
It was a big night for Virginia Tech’s two Justins. (Ivan Morozov)

First, here’s how UNC’s night went against Virginia Tech:

Now let’s dig in with a focus on the defense.

A Dominant Defense

One of the questions for the Hokie defense was how it would use nickel Chamarri Conner (#25): would it be more as a linebacker in a pseudo-4-3 look, or would he play more as a man-coverage DB? UNC might’ve had a similar question, as they motioned their best receiver, slot Josh Downs (#11), from boundary to field on their very first offensive snap. Conner followed Downs, and for most of the night the Hokie was positioned over the dangerous slot. The Hokies used multiple coverages, though, sometimes manning Conner, and other times zoning and passing Downs off to the safeties. Here’s a look at the latter: