Heard it From Hoard: Column 14
If he had, the brother of former UC recruiting coordinator Mark Staten would have never helped point a 135-pound pizza delivery boy to the Bearcat football program.
"I was working in a California Pizza Kitchen while I was kicking in junior college," said UC senior Kevin Lovell. "One day, a coworker saw my name in the paper after a game and mentioned that his brother coaches at Cincinnati. I didn't know if they needed a kicker but I figured it couldn't hurt to try, so I sent them my stuff."
Three months later when Chris Manfredini transferred to TCU, Lovell heard from the UC coaching staff. Three years later, he is the school's record-holder for consecutive PAT's made, taking a streak of 79 straight into next month's International Bowl.
Lovell's final regular season game was his most memorable as a Bearcat. Not only did he tie the school's single-game record with four field goals, but the final one was a 29-yard game-winner with 10 seconds to go. It was the first game-winner he had attempted at any level.
"I really wasn't nervous," said Lovell. "That's what I've practiced for my whole life. I just went out and did my job, thanks to a good snap and a good hold."
"I was more nervous on the extra-point to tie the game with two minutes to go. No one expects you to miss a PAT and it happens every now and then."
The left-footed kicker who has "bulked up" to 160 pounds has had an outstanding senior season, making 16 of 21 field goal attempts and all 25 of his extra points. But the highlight of his time in Clifton are the friends he's made.
"I've never been a part of a team where the guys are so close," said the criminal justice major. "At JUCO and high school, everyone hung out with different people and they all had their cliques. Here, it's a family. We hang out together, live together, eat together. It's like you're with each other 24 hours a day."
The bond with his teammates helped Lovell handle the loss of head coach Mark Dantonio to Michigan State.
"It was tough at first, but you have to accept the opportunity that he and his coaching staff were given and that's something you have to get over and learn from," said Lovell. "Coach was very emotional when he addressed the team and you could tell that it really hurt him to go."
Lovell's final game as a Bearcat will be played under new head coach Brian Kelly.
"The guys are pretty fired up about him coming in and we're going to strive to get a win in the bowl game to start him off on the right foot."
It could be decided by Lovell's left foot.
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