Through the first four games of the season, the Virginia Tech defense had their moments in their four non-conference games. In the season opener against Old Dominion, they forced second-half turnovers that allowed their offense to put up points and pull away for a victory.
In their next three games, losses to Purdue, Rutgers, and Marshall, they struggled to get off the field on third downs, failed to create a lot of turnovers, and allowed too many big plays in what turned out to be three frustrating losses. Once ACC play began, like the offense, things changed.
In their five conference wins, the Hokies' defense was dominating, creating turnovers, limiting big plays, and getting off the field on third downs. In their three losses to Florida State, Louisville, and North Carolina State, what was a bugaboo in their non-conference games popped back up against the top three teams in the ACC.
Like the offense, the defense was able to turn things around and allowed Virginia Tech to become bowl-eligible. Several players stepped up and had a good season for the Hokies. Here are five valuable players for Chris Marve's defense in 2023, similar to the five valuable players to the offense we did earlier this week.