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Virginia run defense ranks No. 114 in the nation

It was another rough weekend in regards to Virginia's efforts to contain its opponents rushing attack. Eastern Michigan utilized a jet sweep and a quarterback zone option keep to thrash the Cavaliers for 209 rushing yards in the first half. The Eagles added 81 more rushing yards after halftime to bring their total on the night to 290 yards.

The Virginia defense has allowed more than 250 rushing yards in three of its last four games and ranks No. 114 in the nation in run defense (211.4 ypg allowed). Only two teams -- Kansas State and Washington State -- from the six conferences that are awarded automatic Bowl Championship Series bids are more porous against the run, though Wake Forest (211.0 ypg allowed) certainly belongs in the same category of ineptitude.

To Virginia's credit, the Cavaliers did make adjustments that enabled them to snuff out the run much more effectively in the second half Saturday night. Defensive Coordinator Jim Reid said he pared down considerably the number of different defensive calls he made during the second half. And the players bettered executed the keys they had been taught during the previous week of practice.

Eastern Michigan "attacked the perimeter; they chopped our linebackers' legs and our corners' legs in the first half," Coach Mike London said. "And when you do that, when you're putting guys on the ground and you're running in an alley full speed, then you've got angles. We did a much better job in the second half of staying on our feet, using our hands and scooting, having some overlap players getting involved. They executed better than we did in the first half, and I think we executed better than they did in the second half."

On Saturday, the Cavaliers will be charged with keeping track of Miami senior tailback Damien Berry, who is the second-most prolific rusher in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Berry is averaging 92.6 rushing yards per game and has recorded more than 100 rushing yards in each of Miami's last four games.

By Steve Yanda  | October 25, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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