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NATIONAL INSIDER

Walk-On Kicker Scores With Eagles

October 14, 2006|Peter Yoon

First came "Rudy," then "Invincible."

The next underdog-makes-good football movie might be "Sid Vicious."

It would be about Steve Aponavicius, a walk-on kicker at Boston College who kicked two field goals and two extra points Thursday night in a nationally televised 22-3 upset of No. 22 Virginia Tech.

Aponavicius, called Sid Vicious by teammates wary of trying to pronounce his last name (it's AH-pah-nah-VIH-chis), spent the early weeks of last season wearing face paint and cheering wildly in the student section.

The left-footer tried out for the team after a coach discovered him kicking field goals for fun on campus. He made the team last season but rarely suited up for games.

But he got the call this week when starter Ryan Ohliger was suspended for an off-campus fight. A soccer player in high school, Aponavicius had never played in a football game before Thursday, but he made field goals of 36 and 20 yards.

"All of it was fun," he said after the game. "Every minute of it. I just wanted to go out and enjoy it."

Aponavicius celebrated with his cronies in the student section after the game, then donned a suit and tie for a postgame news conference.

"He's unique," Eagles safety Ryan 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."

Barely Bearing It

The strange twists keep coming at Northern Colorado, which suspended three assistant coaches for their involvement in at least one unauthorized practice session in March.

Athletic department officials reported the incident to NCAA officials and are awaiting a response while imposing their own punishment.

Offensive line coach Brian Natkin will not coach today against Eastern Washington, offensive coordinator Chad Brown will miss the Oct. 28 game against Sacramento State and running backs coach Keith Grable will miss the Nov. 4 game against Montana State.

Defensive line coach Craig Robinson resigned last week when the practice was revealed.

This comes on the heels of a defensive lineman being suspended from the team for fighting at a bar, the Bears self-reporting the use of an ineligible player in their first game, and two players getting into a fight on the sidelines during a game.

And then there was the attack on punter Rafael Mendoza, who was stabbed in the kicking leg, allegedly by backup Mitch Cozad in an effort to take over the starting job.

Prosecutors dropped a charge against Cozad but are still investigating and could refile it.

Mendoza, who has returned to the team, said Friday that the incident still haunts him.

"It's been tough and scary," Mendoza said.

Mendoza, even though he never saw his attacker, said he thought it was Cozad.

"With everything that we've found out, I have no doubt it was him," Mendoza said.

Sooners Investigated

The NCAA has officially opened an investigation into possible violations by former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar and lineman J.D. Quinn that led to the players' dismissal from the team.

In a letter to university President David Boren, NCAA director of enforcement Julie Roe informed Oklahoma of the investigation, adding that she hoped the work would be completed by Nov. 1.

Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops has said the players were dismissed for "knowingly" breaking NCAA rules. The university has said the players "received extra compensation above that to which they were entitled related to their employment at a private business," and a subsequent report to the NCAA identified that business as Norman car dealership Big Red Sports and Imports.

Since the time of the violations, the dealership has changed ownership. Bomar has transferred to Sam Houston State, and Quinn has transferred to Montana.

Special Guest

The Sooners will have a noteworthy first-time fan in the stands for today's game against Iowa State.

Nelson Peterson, father of Heisman Trophy candidate Adrian, was released from prison over the summer after serving seven years for laundering money from drug sales. He was on probation and confined to a halfway house until this week.

Nelson Peterson coached Adrian's youth teams but never saw his son in high school, and this will be the first time he sees him in college.

"He's been locked up for a long time," said Adrian, a junior. "He hasn't been able to step into a stadium to see me play, so I'm pretty sure he'll be a little more excited than me."

Peterson is seventh in the nation with 752 yards rushing. He has five consecutive 100-yard games.

Don't Forget Geraldo

Baylor, the doormat of the Big 12 for 10 years, is 2-0 in conference and tied with Texas for first place in the South Division.

The Bears, 3-3 overall, haven't won more than five games since 1995, and have not won more than two conference games in a season during that span.

Baylor plays Texas today with a chance to pull off one of the upsets of the year.

"If you beat Texas, the rest of the Big 12 will be scared," Baylor cornerback C.J. Wilson said. "People won't know what to do. You'll have Sports Illustrated down here trying to see what's going on. Dr. Phil will be down here asking questions."

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-- Compiled by Peter Yoon

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Associated Press contributed to this report.

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