Defensive tackle Leonard Taylor tied a career-high with six tackles and set career bests with four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks as the Miami football team defeated Virginia 14-12 in four overtimes on Saturday. The three biggest plays for Taylor occurred in the second half with Virginia in the red zone.
After a 47-yard completion gave Virginia first and goal at the Miami three yardline, Taylor tackled Cavaliers’ wide receiver, Keytaon Thompson, for a seven-yard loss. Virginia gained one yard on the next two plays and settled for a Will Bettridge 27-yard field goal to tie the game at three all early in the third quarter.
On third and two from the Miami four in the fourth quarter, defensive end Mitchell Agude and Taylor combined for a loss of two yards that forced Virginia to settle for a 24-yard Bettridge field goal to give the Cavaliers a 6-3 lead. The final big play for Taylor came on a sack of Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong in overtime.
Taylor sacked Armstrong on third and five from the Miami 20 forcing a 41-yard Bettridge field goal to tie the game at nine. That extended the game to a second OT. Taylor should be a leading candidate to receive the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week. Miami DL Akheem Mesidor was named ACC DL of the Week on October 17.
Mesidor had eight tackles, 3.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks in the 20-14 Miami football win at Virginia Tech on October 15. Taylor led a Miami defense that finished with 11 TFLs and five sacks versus Virginia. Miami entered week nine eighth nationally averaging 3.43 sacks per game. Miami is now averaging 3.63 sacks per game.
Southern Mississippi ranked fifth nationally entering week 10 averaging 3.63 sacks per game. Taylor is starting to reach the potential he was expected to have when signing with Miami in 2021. Following his performance against Virginia, Taylor now has 16 tackles, eight TFLs and three sacks this season.