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April Goss hopes to get a kick out of playing college football

Kent State’s April Goss is a rarity — a woman on a Division I college football roster. By the end of this season, she could accomplish something even rarer if she gets the chance to play in a game.

“Before this year’s out, she’ll get out there. I promise you that,” Kent State Coach Paul Haynes said Saturday after his team’s 52-3 loss at Illinois.

“That’s something that I’ve been hoping for a while now,” Goss said. “It’s just all about being patient.”

And she has been.

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This is Goss’ fourth season on the Golden Flash roster. Like most walk-ons, the odds of her getting into any particular game are slim. The closest she came was kicking the game-winning extra point in the 2014 spring game.

There have been a handful of women on Division I rosters, among them Katie Hnida, who kicked a pair of extra points for New Mexico in 2003. She was the first woman to score in a major college game. How many women who have played or scored in a game isn’t a stat that’s commonly tracked. But according to STATS LLC, Goss appears to be the only woman currently on a Division I roster.

Haynes says she’s earned that place.

“She works her tail off. She’s the first one out there in practice and the last one off the field,” he said. “Every time someone gets up and talks, one of our players gets up and talks, they always talk about they’ve got brothers, and a sister.”

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Like many kickers, her background was in soccer. But as a high school junior in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Goss decided she wanted to play football. She can’t quite explain why. She didn’t have older brothers to follow to the football field, or a parent pushing to make it happen. Kim and Craig Goss were initially horrified, she said.

“They were like, ‘Please, no.’” she said. “It was more of safety concern than anything. It broke my heart when they were like, `Don’t.”’

But she did, playing her junior and senior seasons, kicking extra points. When it was over, she wasn’t ready to stop.

“So in college, they were like, ‘If you can make it, go for it,” Goss said.

Etc.

Tennessee defensive tackle Danny O’Brien has been suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules and policies, according to Volunteers Coach Butch Jones, who said that the junior would miss Saturday’s game against No. 19 Oklahoma and that no timetable was set for his return. ... Senior receiver Alton “Pig” Howard, is expected to play against Oklahoma after sitting out the Bowling Green game because of a violation of team rules.

Wisconsin safety Michael Caputo returned to practice, but his status for the Badgers’ home opener on Saturday remained in question while he goes through a concussion protocol. ... Florida wide receiver Latroy Pittman will sit out at least another game because of a suspension for which the details were not revealed. Coach Jim McElwain said that Pittman has “a little time to go” before being reinstated....

Kansas State has announced plans for the next phase of its renovation to Bill Snyder Family Stadium, a $15-million project that will complete the lower bowl and provide other fan amenities.

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