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WATCH: Coach Howell Breaks the Rock after Virginia’s defensive clinic against Duke

Howell becomes the first assistant to get the postgame honor.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 Belk Bowl - South Carolina v Virginia Photo by Jeremy McKnight/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the first time, an assistant coach got the honor of Breaking the Rock following a Virginia Football victory. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall addressed the team in the locker room following the Cavaliers’ 48-14 win over the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday night, and gave the post-game honor to Defensive Coordinator Nick Howell.

Howell also leads the secondary, a unit that went through some trials and tribulations over the last week following the season-ending ankle injury to All-American Bryce Hall. De’Vante Cross started in his stead, and finished with one tackle and two pass break ups.

Mendenhall was full of praise for the defense, and rightfully so, as they held Duke to just 14 points and an abysmal 2-for-14 (14%) third down conversion rate.

Chris Moore (12 tackles) and Joey Blount (10 tackles, one interception) both finished with double-digit tackles in the game, and Virginia forced five total turnovers. Blount and Brenton Nelson had interceptions, and Charles Snowden, Eli Hanback, and Mandy Alonso came up with fumble recoveries.

Check out some of the highlights from the defense this week: