Can you recall a college football team as bad at kicking extra points as the 2014 Boston College Eagles?
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Perhaps that is a bit of an overreaction, but perhaps it isn’t for anyone who has watched them.
The equivalents of 20-yard field goal attempts, extra points are often taken for granted by football fans as a thing universally accepted to succeed following a touchdown, failing only in rare circumstances.
Except for Boston College, it is not so rare. When Alex Howell’s PAT was blocked in the second half against Wake Forest on Saturday, that was the fifth missed by the Eagles this season, also meaning that three different kickers botched at least one this year. The Eagles are the worst team in the nation at kicking extra points at 81.5 percent.
For perspective, two-thirds of the way through the regular season, sixty teams have yet to miss one, some with a lot more attempts.
Former Eagles kicker Steve Aponavicius weighed in:
He missed only one more than that in four years and he wasn’t even a football player when he walked onto the team.
How is it that all of these kickers, some highly-touted in their own right, cannot make all of their extra points?
No degree in sports psychology here, so we will collectively refrain from going the “it’s in their heads” route. Maybe it is, but there is no way any of us could prove or disprove based on game film. More likely it’s just plain old bad kicking. This means kicking the balls too low and/or not striking it right, for whatever reason.
Boston College Extra Points: Historical Perspective
Last season, Nate Freese missed only one of 41; the year before that, none. In 2010 and 2011, just one miss.
The 2009 Eagles with Aponavicius missed only one. 2008, none. 2007, Aponavicius missed four, going 46-for-50 or 92 percent.
Ryan Ohliger missed three in 2006 before getting suspended indefinitely, while Aponavicius missed one. The 2004 and 2005 Eagles teams missed three and two, respectively.
From 1992 to 2003, the Eagles missed no more than three in any of them; in 1991, four misses.
In fact, we have to go back to 1985 before we find the last Boston College team comparable to this one in terms of awful PAT kicking. That team missed six extra points, and the field goal kicking was even worse at 7-for-17 on the season.
This is not the worst Boston College kicking team ever — not yet, anyway. It is, however, the worst in a long time, and one has to wonder how such an easy kick could get flubbed by the special teams unit over and over. One point may not seem like a lot, but a miss completely changed Boston College’s offensive strategy at the end of the Clemson game, and if Wake had scored on the last drive, the Eagles would have wished they had Howell’s miss back.
If anything, Boston College fans now have a greater appreciation for extra points — and hold their breath through those as well.