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Virginia defensive end Max Valles (88) sacks Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage (7) in the second quarter Saturday in Pittsburgh.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
PITTSBURGH - Of all the changes Virginia made in its coaching staff after the 2012 season, none is getting more favorable reviews than the hiring of alumnus Jon Tenuta as defensive coordinator.
"We have to give credit to the [Virginia] defensive coordinator," Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street said Saturday after a 14-3 victory over the Cavaliers. "I think he planned tremendously. He made a lot of great calls. They double- and triple-teamed. I think their defensive line did a tremendous job."
Virginia held Pittsburgh to 199 yards, less than half its average; forced three turnovers; and sacked quarterback Tom Savage seven times, the high for a Virginia team since it had nine sacks against Duke in 2006.
Street could also credit Tenuta for choosing to start Max Valles, a true freshman who had two solo sacks and shared a third.
Valles, a 6-foot-5, 210-pounder from Sicklerville, N.J., played at Fork Union Military Academy last year and was a defensive end and tight end before being moved to outside linebacker by UVa in the preseason.
"Max is a great player and he plays fast every snap," said UVa defensive tackle David Dean, who had a part in two sacks. "He just brings something special to the defense, something we need.
"As soon as he came in, we all sort of knew he was an explosive player. You've just got to get him in the right places."
Valles had made his debut last week against VMI, when his numbers were negligible.
"I didn't exactly see this coming," said Valles, credited with five tackles Saturday, "but the guys on the team gave me confidence all week. They tell me every day, ‘You're a great player. You just have to know you're a great player.'
"I really give it to the older guys to give me the confidence to go out and play. I'm kind of a fast guy, so I just use my speed as much as possible and just to stay motivated, even if I get blocked, and keep running."
A 77-yard punt by junior Alec Vozenilek was the fourth-longest in school history and the longest by a UVa punter since Will Brice had a 78-yarder in 1994 .
Vozenilek averaged 46.6 yards on nine punts, four of which were downed inside the 20. Some of Vozenilek's other punts went for 53, 51, 50, 49 and 46 yards.
Odds 'n' ends
Virginia lost its ACC opener for the fourth year in a row and is now 0-3 against Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. ... The Cavaliers failed to score a touchdown for the first time in 16 games dating back to a 38-0 loss to Virginia Tech in Charlottesville in 2011.
Junior Cody Wallace made his second start at right offensive guard in place of Conner Davis, who has a lower-extremity injury and did not make the trip.
One week after making his college debut against VMI and rushing for 136 yards, walk-on freshman running back Daniel Hamm, a former Fort Chiswell High School standout, made a brief appearance Saturday, carrying twice for 5 yards in relief of Kevin Parks.
Virginia next week
The Cavaliers (2-2) entertain Ball State (4-1) at noon at Scott Stadium. The Cardinals defeated Toledo 31-24 on Saturday. Ball State has scored 40 or more points in four of its five games.
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