-- Redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Martinez left the Virginia football team Saturday night, unhappy with his role on the team after falling from second to fourth on the depth chart over the past year.
Martinez, a touted prospect when he left Patrick Henry-Ashland High School, began last season as the backup quarterback and stepped in for the first two games after starter Matt Schaub was injured. But he struggled in that second appearance and the Cavaliers switched to Marques Hagans the next week.
This fall, Martinez had been stuck behind Hagans, redshirt freshman Kevin McCabe and redshirt sophomore Christian Olsen. "I was pretty much told that I wouldn't play unless somebody got hurt," Martinez said Monday night.
Martinez, whose departure was first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch on its Web site Monday afternoon, said he might leave Virginia at the end of the semester to play football elsewhere. A star pitcher in high school, he also plans to look into playing with the Virginia baseball team.
"It just didn't work out," Martinez said of his football experience. "There's some things that could've been done on my part where it could have made it a lot better and then there's some things that could've been done on the other half, but who's to say?"
Meantime, Syracuse sophomore Perry Patterson will start at quarterback when his team visits 12th-ranked Virginia on Saturday, replacing freshman Joe Fields, a touted recruit who completed fewer than half his passes in the team's first three games.
Orange Coach Paul Pasqualoni said at his weekly news conference he plans to continue to use both players. Patterson came off the bench in each of the Orange's first three games and threw nearly twice as many passes as Fields, completing 24 of 44 attempts for 281 yards.
Syracuse has looked average at best this season, grabbing headlines with a season-opening 51-0 loss at Purdue, but Virginia Coach Al Groh, whose team is favored by 22 points, said it would be a mistake to make too much of one blowout loss.
"I've dismissed that Purdue game as just one of those things that happens," Groh said.
The Cavaliers (3-0) said they expect the Orange (2-1) to be a more physical team than Temple, North Carolina and Akron, which they defeated by a combined 151-38. Syracuse has a pair of talented running backs in Walter Reyes and Damien Rhodes and an offensive line that averages 313 pounds per man.
Cavaliers Notes: Tailback Wali Lundy leads the nation in scoring with 54 points after becoming the first Virginia player to score three touchdowns in three straight games. All of the scores came on the ground, giving the 5-foot-10 junior as many or more rushing touchdowns as 111 of the 117 teams in Division I-A.
The team is well represented in the national statistics, ranking third with 50.3 points per game, seventh with 303.7 rushing yards per game and eighth with 525 yards total offense per game. Virginia's defense is 11th with 259.3 yards allowed after yielding 84 yards to Akron, its best effort since 1979. . . .
Reserve linebacker Bryan White is not expected to return this season after suffering an undisclosed injury in the week after Virginia's season opener.