Notre Dame Football: Defensive Grades vs. Virginia

4 of 5

Sep 12, 2015; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Matt Johns (15) fumbles as he is hit by Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell (6) in the fourth quarter at Scott Stadium. Notre Dame won 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Secondary: D+

The secondary had a disappointing Saturday. Johns may have played better than expected, but he simply isn’t a great quarterback. Many of the passes he completed were absolute ducks, tossed up in the direction of Severin and his fellow receivers in the hopes that they might come down with the ball. The ND secondary displayed a complete lack of awareness on many of these passes, resulting in multiple ND defenders surrounding Severin and watching him inexplicably come down with the pass.

Junior CB Devin Butler looked particularly lost on some of these passes, as it appears his ball skills still need some work. Junior CB Cole Luke played okay (2 pass break-ups), but it seemed he was oftentimes late in breaking on balls thrown his way, resulting in open Virginia receivers making catches to extend drives.

Junior S Max Redfield, aside from one pass break-up, was largely invisible on the day. Senior S Elijah Shumate had 10 tackles and was excellent in run support, but that likely says more about the play of the front seven than anything else. Shumate, along with senior CB KeiVarae Russell, also appeared to have blown coverage assignments once or twice, resulting in big gains for Virginia. Russell missed a few tackles as well, but did make up for it with a HUGE sack-fumble on Johns in the fourth quarter, making VanGorder look good with a well-timed blitz on a 3rd-and-3 on the Irish 38 yard line.

Next: Grade: Final Grades