7:30 PM ET, October 12, 2006
Alumni Stadium, CHESTNUT HILL, MA
BOSTON (AP) -- Boston College walk-on Steve Aponavicius never showed a hint of hardship against Virginia Tech, delivering a perfect kicking performance in his football debut.
It was only after the game that the left-footed soccer convert allowed his aw-shucks inexperience to show through.
"All of it was fun. Every minute of it," he said Thursday night after making two field goals and two extra points to lead Boston College to a 22-3 victory over Virginia Tech. "I just wanted to go out and enjoy it."
Overdressed for the postgame news conference in a coat and tie, the fresh-faced kicker followed his breakout performance by cracking up his teammates and the assembled reporters. Asked if Aponavicius needed a primer in the usually staid postgame routine, safety Ryan Glasper said, "He's just having fun."
"He's unique," Glasper said. "We talked to him all week about how everyone's given an opportunity. This was his opportunity. We had the confidence in him to do the job."
The BC defense forced four turnovers to send the Hokies to their second consecutive loss. Boston College (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) is a North Carolina State desperation pass away from being unbeaten.
Virginia Tech (4-2, 2-2) has lost consecutive games since rising to No. 11 in The Associated Press Top 25. The Hokies also fell to 12-2 in Thursday night games on ESPN; both losses were to BC -- one in Blacksburg, one in Chestnut Hill -- 11 years apart.
"It's a big win on Thursday night against a program that's owned Thursday night," BC coach Tom O'Brien said.
Matt Ryan was 16-for-29 for 174 yards and two touchdowns despite limping through much of the second half on a previously injured ankle. Kevin Challenger caught two touchdown passes and freshman Alex Albright contributed to two turnovers, tipping a pass that was intercepted and recovering a fumble.
Virginia Tech's Sean Glennon completed 23 of 34 passes with two interceptions. The Hokies were held to 21 yards in the second half.
"It's frustrating," Glennon said. "You think you played all right. Then I look at the stat sheet and you see two interceptions and a fumble."
BC, which lost to N.C. State on Sept. 23 on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 8.5 seconds left, plays Florida State in 10 days. Virginia Tech will play Southern Miss.
Called "Sid Vicious" by teammates and coaches who can't pronounce his name (it's AH'-pah-nah-VIH'-chis), Aponavicius played soccer in high school and was discovered in Alumni Stadium on the first day of classes his freshman year fooling around with a borrowed football.
He was elevated to starter when Ryan Ohliger was suspended following a fight outside a Boston bar. Ohliger has apologized and said he was defending himself from students who heckled him over his kicking struggles; he missed three extra points in a two-week span this season.
Aponavicius' biggest struggle -- not counting figuring out how to strap on shoulder pads -- was with kickoffs. Although he boomed the opener to the 3, later efforts were between the 10 and 20 before receiver Brandon Robinson kicked off -- out of bounds-- in the fourth.
But Aponavicius made two PATs and field goals from 36 and 20 yards out, getting mobbed by his teammates each time and cheered by a crowd that included Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie.
Virginia Tech was held without a touchdown for the first time since the 1998 Gator Bowl, though a 19-yard TD pass to David Clowney in the second quarter was called back for holding.
"I'd say we need to evaluate our football team -- how we're doing and what we're doing," coach Frank Beamer said. "Two weeks in a row turnovers got us."
Glennon coughed up the ball early in the third, but was rescued when the play was ruled an incomplete pass on replay review. On the next play, thought, Albright tipped his pass and linebacker Jolonn Dunbar ran the deflection 35 yards to the Virginia Tech 26.
Four plays later, Aponavicius converted from 36 yards out to make it 10-3 with 9:11 left in the third.
On the Hokies' next possession, Austin Giles hit Glennon from behind and Albright recovered the fumble at the Tech 30. L.V. Whitworth scampered for 14 yards to the 16, then picked up a facemask on the next run, bringing the ball to the 6.
Aponavicius converted the 20-yarder to make it 13-3 with 4:50 left in the quarter.
The Hokies advanced to the BC 34 when Glennon scrambled for 7 yards on a third-and-4 on the first play of the fourth quarter. But a holding penalty moved them back to the 44, then linebacker Mark Herzlich knocked down Glennon's pass on second-and-16 and sacked the quarterback to force a fourth-and-28.
After the punt, BC drove 83 yards on 11 plays with Ryan hitting Challenger for an 18-yard TD that made it 20-3 with 6:49 left in the game. The Eagles picked up a safety when punter Nick Schmitt missed the snap in his own end zone with 1:37 left.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... BC's defense took the field. It forced four turnovers, and the Hokies were held without a touchdown for the first time since the '98 Gator Bowl.
Gameball goes to... Walk-on kicker Steve Aponavicius, who made two field goals and two PATs in his first stat. QB Matt Ryan went 16-for-29 for 174 yards and two TDs.
Stat of the game... 21: Number of yards the Hokies were held to in the first half. Virginia Tech finished with just 33 rushing yards and 181 total yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-14||7-17|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||0-1|
|TD||5:11||KEVIN CHALLENGER 15 YD PASS FROM MATT RYAN (STEVE APONAVICIUS KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 54 yards.
|FG||0:41||BRANDON PACE 36 YD FG|
Drive info: 14 plays, 51 yards.
|FG||9:11||STEVE APONAVICIUS 36 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 9 yards.
|FG||4:50||STEVE APONAVICIUS 20 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 27 yards.
|TD||6:49||KEVIN CHALLENGER 18 YD PASS FROM MATT RYAN (STEVE APONAVICIUS KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 83 yards.