Virginia Pittsburgh Football

Virginia linebacker Matt Gahm (56) celebrates with teammates after intercepting a pas from Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

CHARLOTTESVILLE — One of the more impressive aspects of Virginia's season-opening victory at Pittsburgh last Saturday was the Cavaliers holding the Panthers scoreless in the second half.

What's more, UVa managed to offset an injury to one of its top defensive players, linebacker Jordan Mack, who did not play in the second half after suffering a suspected concussion.

Among the players who stepped up was Matt Gahm, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound junior from Dallas whose third-quarter interception — the first of his college career — turned the game around.

The Cavaliers trailed at the half before rallying for a 30-14 victory over the Panthers.

"It's the first time in our almost three seasons that we've had that call and actually had an outside linebacker do it correctly," UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall said earlier this week.

'It wasn't so much the call, even though the call was a good one. It was the execution of his assignment within the call."

For Mendenhall, it conjured up memories of Kyle Van Noy, an All-America linebacker who played for Mendenhall at Brigham Young.

Van Noy "was probably the best at that particular coverage and that technique" Mendenhall said. "Now we have an example at Virginia of how it's supposed to be done."

Gahm is one of three third-year linebackers, along with Zane Zandier and Robert Snyder, who have received ample playing time.

Doug Doughty is in his 44th year at the Roanoke Times, having produced an estimated 10,000 by-lines, a majority of them on University of Virginia athletics.

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