CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia football team will return eight of its top ten tacklers from last season.

Juan Thornhill led the Cavaliers with 98 total tackles in 2018, and Chris Peace was tied for third with 65.

They both graduated, but the rest of the players in the Top Ten will be back this year.

That number doesn't even include a guy like Mandy Alonso, who missed the last four games due to injury.

UVa ranked third in the ACC in scoring defense last season, as they allowed just 20.1 points per game.

The pass defense was second-best in the conference at 183 YPG, but when it came to stopping the run, the 'Hoos were in the middle of the pack.

Virginia allowed 147.5 yards per game on the ground

 

in 2018, and opponents averaged 4.5 yards per rush.

The Cavaliers have put an emphasis on Run Defense this year, and they know the exact number they're aiming for.

"Stopping the run is definitely always an emphasis for our defense," says Alonso.  "Our goals is to have 3.5 yards per rush, or less. That's mainly our goal. That was the main emphasis of spring, and that's definitely going to be the main emphasis of this fall camp."

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall says, "We track everything, and we know exactly what numbers lead to an 85-percent threshold to win. Eighty-five meaning that's ten wins or more. We really don't pay attention to anything under that, and that just happens to be one that is a great predictor for us."

The Cavaliers will kickoff the 2019 season at Pitt on August 31st.