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BC notebook

Aponavicius suddenly kicking it up a notch

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / November 21, 2008
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Steve Aponavicius has attempted 17 field goals this season. He has been unsuccessful on seven, including one block, all at Alumni Stadium.

But Aponavicius, a senior from Easton, Pa., may have finally hit his stride with a pair of key field goals in last Saturday's 27-17 victory at Florida State.

"It was awesome to get back on track," said Aponavicius, who has become the Eagles' only option as a field goal kicker with the continuing suspension of sophomore Billy Bennett for a violation of team rules.

"It was a tough two weeks, missing all of those kicks. It felt good to get them through, and right down the middle, too."

Aponavicius, a former walk-on who became a campus cult hero during a 2006 season that ended when he kicked a last-second field goal to beat Navy in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, feels he has solved his mechanical problems.

"I was too quick with the ball and kind of out control," he said. "I wrote, 'Go Slow,' on my hand and looked at it before I went out there [against Florida State]. I was able to get back on track and hope I can build on it."

Aponavicius said his teammates have been unwavering in their support.

"They have been great sticking with me through the tough times," he said. "Everyone has been saying, 'We know you can make it.' "

Off the field, however, has been a different matter. "It was tough walking to class," Aponavicius said. "People would look at me and put their heads down.

"It's tough when no one wants to say hi to you."

The frustrating part is that Aponavicius said his kicks had been fine during the week in practice.

"I tried to draw on my past experiences," he said. "Having missed four or five, I could have gone in the tank. I kicked very well in practice, but it's frustrating because it wasn't happening on Saturdays. I knew it was in there somewhere."

For the Eagles, who need to win tomorrow at Wake Forest and Nov. 29 in their regular-season finale at home against Maryland to reach the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, the hope is that Aponavicius does slow down and enjoy the moments that could produce not only a game-winning field goal, but another Atlantic Division title.

Smith doubtful

Running back Jeff Smith is listed as doubtful for tomorrow's game with a hip flexor. "It's been bothering him for some time," said coach Jeff Jagodzinski, who noted Montel Harris and Brandon Robinson will handle kickoff returns in Smith's place.

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