BOSTON -Steve Aponavicius walked onto the field for the first football game of his life on Thursday night and helped Boston College walk off with a 22-3 victory over No. 22 Virginia Tech.
The left-footed soccer convert was perfect on two field goals and two extra points, and 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), held to 21 yards in the second half, 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.
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.
Sean Glennon completed 23 of 34 passes with two interceptions.
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 he 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.
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.
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