|Charlotte , NC–
Boston College found a most improbable way to extend the nation’s longest bowl winning streak with a big assist from Navy.
Walk-on Steve Aponavicius kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play and the Eagles beat the Midshipmen 25-24 in the Meineke Bowl, a seventh straight bowl win that concluded a tumultuous month for BC.
Navy, which had 322 yards rushing, seemingly had the game won. BC was out of timeouts and Navy only had to run out the clock. But Reggie Campbell fumbled a pitch from quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and BC’s Jolann Dunbar recovered at the Navy 40 with 1:43 left.
Matt Ryan completed a long pass to tight end Ryan Purvis and Aponavicius, who had replaced the suspended Ryan Ohliger in mid-season, calmly kicked the game-winner, setting off a wild celebration for the Eagles and their interim head coach.
Former Coach Tom O’Brien stunned the team three weeks ago when he left for Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina State. Green Bay offensive co-coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski was hired to replace him, but won’t join the team until the Packers’ season is over.
Defensive co-coordinator Frank Spaziani, a former Navy assistant, was named interim coach for the bowl and is expected to stay on as an assistant under Jagodzinski. But several assistants are also expected to join O’Brien’s staff.
Ryan, completed 20-of-29 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown, and overcame two interceptions and three sacks.
Until late in the game, Navy’s confusing triple-option offense caused the Eagles, who had the nation’s 13th best-run defense, fits. Sloppy tackling and big gaps in the secondary allowed Navy to break off six runs of 16 or more yards.
“They were so big it took away almost everything we wanted to run inside,” Navy coach Paul Johnson said. “We had to make it a perimeter game and in the second half they did a good job.”
Kaheaku-Enhada threw touchdown passes to Tyree Barnes and Tomlinson, sandwiched between Zerbin Singleton’s 5-yard touchdown run in the first half and Navy appeared poised to beat a ranked team for the first time this season.
“We came out with emotion and played with high emotion the whole game,” Navy linebacker David Mahoney said. “We went from as high as you can possibly get to the lowest you can get when that field goal goes through.
One Kick Sent Navy Back to Annapolis With a 25-24 Loss to BC