Late Field Goal Gives Boston College 25-24 Meineke Car Care Bowl Win
Steve Aponavicius kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the game
Dec. 30, 2006
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -Boston College found a most improbable way to extend the nation's longest bowl winning streak - with a big assist from a Navy miscue.
Walk-on Steve Aponavicius kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play and the Eagles beat the Midshipmen 25-24 in the Meineke Bowl, a seventh straight bowl win that concluded up a tumultuous month for BC.
Navy, which had 322 yards rushing, seemingly had the game won. BC (10-3) was out of timeouts and Navy only had to run out the clock. But Reggie Campbell fumbled a pitch from quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and BC's Jolonn Dunbar recovered at the Navy 40 with 1:43 left.
Matt Ryan completed a long pass to tight end Ryan Purvis and Aponavicius, who had replaced the suspended Ryan Ohliger in midseason, calmly kicked the game-winner, setting off a wild celebration for the Eagles and their interim head coach.
Former Coach Tom O'Brien stunned the team three weeks ago when he left for Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina State. Green Bay offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski was hired to replace him, but won't join the team until the Packers' season is over.
Defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani, a former Navy assistant, was named interim coach for the bowl and is expected to stay on as an assistant under Jagodzinski. But several assistants are also expected to join O'Brien's staff.
Ryan completed 20-of-29 passes for 242 yards with a touchdown pass and a touchdown run, and overcame two interceptions and three sacks.
Shun White rushed for 116 yards and Kaheaku-Enhada threw two touchdown passes for Navy (9-4), which had a four-game winning streak snapped.
White's 53-yard run set up Kaheaku-Enhada's 24-yard touchdown pass to Jason Tomlinson, who made a juggling catch in triple coverage, giving Navy a 21-13 lead midway through the second quarter.
BC got within 24-22 on Matt Ryan's 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Purvis with 7:36 left in the game. Forced to go for a 2-point conversion because of Aponavicius' missed extra point in the first quarter, Tony Gonzalez dropped Ryan's pass in the back of the end zone.
But Navy's mistake gave the Eagles - and Aponavicius - another chance.
The sophomore, who had never played organized football before going 2-for-2 on field goals against Virginia Tech on Oct. 12, was mobbed by his teammates after the kick, which gave BC its first 10-win season since 1984, when Doug Flutie won the Heisman Trophy.
Andre Callender rushed for 66 yards for the Eagles, taking over for L.V. Whitworth, who left with an apparent ankle injury late in the first quarter.
Until late in the game, Navy's confusing triple-option offense caused the Eagles, who had the nation's 13th best run defense, fits. Sloppy tackling and big gaps in the secondary allowed Navy to break off six runs of 16 or more yards.
Navy coach Paul Johnson started Jarod Bryant at quarterback ahead of Kaheaku-Enhada, but the Midshipmen's first possession ended on fullback Matt Hall's lost fumble at the Navy 37.
Ryan, the Atlantic Coast Conference's top passer, completed the short drive with a 2-yard touchdown scramble.
But Aponavicius missed the extra point, and Kaheaku-Enhada threw two touchdown passes to Tyree Barnes and Tomlinson, sandwiched between Zerbin Singleton's 5-yard touchdown run as Navy took control.
Johnson gambled throughout the game, trying a failed onside kick and deciding to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the BC 20 late in the first half. But Kaheaku-Enhada was stopped for no gain, and Ryan completed two long passes to set up Aponavicius' 26-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it 21-16.