Despite three straight losses, including last week’s heartbreaker, there have been two bright spots on Virginia’s defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Micah Kiser and safety Quin Blanding have quietly put together outstanding seasons so far.
Virginia has two players in the top ten in the country when it comes to tackling. No other ACC school has even one in the top 20. Kiser is atop the ACC and No. 4 in the country with 11.4 tackles per game, while Blanding is not far behind with 10.4 tackles per game — good for No. 2 in the conference and No. 10 in the country.
Kiser, one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award (and the lone ACC representative), is the only player in the country with at least 100 solo tackles and 10 sacks over the past two seasons. He’s also the only player this season with at least five sacks and 90 tackles. Meanwhile, Blanding has 321 tackles over the past three seasons, which is the second most in the country.
Virginia will be relying on the continued success of these two defensive stars to corral the Demon Deacons on Saturday for a Cavaliers win.