Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — In a rivalry that is defined by kickers more than any other in college football, Roberto Aguayo used a miss to fuel his love for Florida State and kicking.

When the 12th-ranked Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) host Miami (3-1) on Saturday, the most accurate kicker in NCAA history is hoping that he doesn’t become part of a list of Florida State kickers who have faltered.

After Xavier Beita’s went wide left against Miami in 2002, Aguayo’s dad made a goalpost in the backyard so that Roberto and his younger brother, Ricky, could practice kicking. It was out there that they would simulate the scenario Beita had in that game.

"We would play the (ABC college football theme) song and say 42, left hash, against Miami and we’d play the song. Sometimes we make it, sometimes we’d miss," Aguayo said. "Coming into this week I’d remember those times with my brother and it’s like I’ve already done this. It’s already happened so when I go out there on the field it’s just natural."

In 14 games from the 1991-2003 seasons, Seminoles kickers missed five field goals in the fourth quarter — four wide rights and a wide left. Gerry Thomas had the first wide right in 1991 followed by Dan Mowry (1992), Matt Munyon (2000) and Beita (2004 Orange Bowl).

Heading into Saturday’s game, Aguayo has made all 19 of his fourth-quarter attempts during his collegiate career, including four in the past two games against Miami. In last year’s 30-26 victory, Aguayo made a career-high 53-yarder to bring the Seminoles within three.

Aguayo, who is 4 of 5 this season, also knows because of the history of the series, this is the game where he gets more attention than usual.

"The games in this rivalry, it has changed the history of Florida State. We could have had a couple of more national championships with some of those kicks that were missed," Aguayo said. "That’s the one thing I hear the most, especially during this week, the wide rights, the wide lefts.

"I think it is fun the last two years playing against them I’ve gone out there and done my job that’s what I’m hoping to do this week."

Aguayo’s counterpart, Michael Badgley, grew up in New Jersey but is also well aware of the history of the series.

Badgley said he has thought about the role that kickers have had in the series but he’s not about to let that affect him. Miami suffered its own special teams misfortune in 2005 when a low snap bounced off the hands of holder Brian Monroe as Jon Peattie tried to attempt a 28-yard field goal. That started a run where the Seminoles have won eight of the last 10, including five straight.

In last year’s game, Badgley made both of his field-goal attempts but had a PAT blocked. Badgley comes into Saturday’s game 12 of 15 on the season. He was 3 of 5 in Miami’s 34-23 loss at Cincinnati on Oct. 1 with the misses coming from 51 and 53 yards.

"Everything was right. I just had a misstep and mishap and it’s just something you come back to the practice field to work on the next day," Badgley said of the misses in the last game. "It’s nothing really to stress about. You just come back and work on it."


Freelance writer Christopher Stock in Coral Gables, Florida, contributed to this report.


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