Sam Hellman / Scarlet Report

Kicker David Bonagura Slowly Gains Trust for Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- After an inconsistent training camp, David Bonagura sharpened his approach as the starting placekicker and established consistency for Rutgers coach Chris Ash.

It took David Bonagura longer than expected to claim the starting placekicker job before the start of the season, but the junior now has the consistency he needs.

Bonagura is 6-for-7 on field goals for Rutgers and a perfect 12-for-12 on extra points through the first three games of his career.

“I’m always trying,” he said. “I’m always trying to be 100 percent.”

In the Scarlet Knights’ 37-28 victory over New Mexico on Saturday, Bonagura was 3-for-3 on field goals. All of them came in the second half. He nailed a career-long of 41 yards in the third quarter before his 33-yarder and 28-yarder gave Rutgers a two-possession game late against the Lobos.

Bongura missed a 41-yard attempt in week two before the end of the half against Howard, but cleaned up his technique when he converted the try again the next week against New Mexico.

“Even last game when I missed that 41-yarder, it was a minor bump, I guess, in the road that I knew I did wrong immediately,” Bonagura said. “So I just needed to come back from it, and definitely the confidence is boosted in my own and hopefully my team’s head as well.”

Coach Chris Ash recognizes Bonagura’s progression.

“I'm really pleased with the progress of Bonagura throughout the first three games in the season,” Ash said. “To be honest in training camp, I didn’t know if he could make anything. He just stuck to it. He continues to grind. His confidence continues to grow.

“The confidence in the football team and the coaching staff of his ability to go out and make kicks when he needs to is growing. Really proud of that kid for what he's done and what he's been able to do each Saturday out there.”

The consistency built over time for Bonagura. He acknowledged Ash’s questions from camp and made the necessary adjustments.

“I mean, I guess it’s kind of self-explanatory,” Bonagura said. “I hit a 41-yarder and then two more field goals, so some of them are self-explanatory. But in camp, (Ash) wasn’t wrong about that. In camp, I was not doing as well as I would hope I did. I actually gave poor effort, to be honest, in camp and I was not proud of myself the way I kicked. I knew I had to change something. I tweaked the new mechanics and then it kind of took care of itself.”

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