Christian Benvenuto has already forgotten his 0-for-4 field-goal performance in Saturday’s 17-14 overtime loss to San Antonio.
“My coach from my high school always told me that there’s a midnight rule. You’ve got to forget about it [by then],” he said.
None of the misses were chip shots. He missed the first, a 49-yarder, wide left. The second, from 47 yards, was blocked because Benvenuto said he mishit it. The third, from 45 yards with 1:59 remaining in regulation, went wide right. The last, from 48 yards in overtime, went wide right.
“I just couldn’t get them to drop,” he said.
With the four misses, Benvenuto hasn’t split the upright in his last five attempts. He had a 24-yard field goal blocked in the overtime win against South Alabama.
Coach Bill Curry said Benvenuto will continue to handle the field-goal duties. Before Saturday’s performance, the true freshman had hit eight of his 12 attempts, including six of eight from at least 40 yards.
Curry took some of the blame for the misses, saying that Benvenuto has belied his age by attempting so many long field goals this year.
“I should have thought about that,” Curry said. “But he’s performed so well in practice. And we’ve put him under pressure. He’s been ice water until Saturday. “Then he became a freshman and we’ve put him under too much duress.”
Regarding other special-teams issues, Curry said the coaches will continue to try different players on the kickoff coverage team until they can find an effective combination. The Panthers gave up 90 yards on three returns last week, increasing the opponents’ season average to 22.1 yards per return.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu