The Washington Times - September 22, 2008, 10:27AM

A week ago, Obi Egekeze had missed all five of his field goal attempts and I was trying to piece together how I was going to write about his struggles even though I knew Maryland wouldn’t make him available for comment. (The practice of shielding struggling college athletes from nefarious media types is not confined to CP, so that’s not a shot at Maryland. It does, nevertheless, make work a little bit more difficult).

Now, Egekeze is coming off one of his best games: six extra points, four touchbacks, three field goals and a tackle on a kickoff. And I just voted for him for the ACC’s special teams player of the week.

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So does that mean the kicking competition is over? Not precisely.

“I think we’re still going to stay with Obi, but that doesn’t mean it’s over,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “You’ve got to be productive. He had an unbelievable game … To me, it was a pretty extraordinary game for a kicker.”

The most notable storyline entering what should have been (and was) a rout was whether Egekeze’s psyche would land in the right place and he’d start making kicks again. It did, and he did.

If this was the start of the turnaround, Egekeze could very easily follow the arc of Nick Novak from 2001. Novak missed his first five attempts and was even 4-for-11 at one stage, but wound up 16-for-25 on the season. That doesn’t look great, but finishing 12-for-14 is pretty close to ideal.

Egekeze’s success rate might never look imposing this season. But if he winds up in the Novak, circa 2001, range, then he’ll have kicked well when it counted – during conference play.

Patrick Stevens