Originally created 12/31/06

Late mistake gives Eagles lucky No. 7



CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It's fitting that Boston College's bizarre month would end with an improbable finish that made a hero out of a walk-on kicker.

Steve Aponavicius kicked a career-best 37-yard field goal on the final play and the 23rd-ranked Eagles beat the Midshipmen 25-24 in the Meineke Bowl to extend the nation's current longest bowl-winning streak to seven.

"What they had to overcome and all the adversity," interim coach Frank Spaziani said. "No one asked about Navy. Everyone was talking about the situation."

"The situation" was former coach Tom O'Brien's stunning decision three weeks ago to leave 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.

Spaziani, the defensive coordinator and a former Navy assistant, has filled the gap and is expected to stay on as an assistant under Jagodzinski. But several assistants are also expected to join O'Brien's staff.

For much of the game, it looked like the distractions would be too much to overcome. Navy, the nation's top rushing team, had 322 yards on the ground and seemingly had the game won.

Boston College (10-3) was out of timeouts and Navy only had to run out the final two minutes. But Reggie Campbell fumbled a pitch from quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and Boston College's Jolonn Dunbar recovered at the Navy 40 with 1:43 left.

Matt Ryan completed a 16-yard pass to tight end Ryan Purvis and Aponavicius, who played soccer - not football - in high school and replaced the suspended Ryan Ohliger in midseason, calmly kicked the game-winner, setting off a wild celebration.