SAN DIEGO—San Diego State University’s Donny Hageman, who earlier in the game set the school record for most field goals made in a season with 19, missed from 34-yards out with 20 seconds left to give Navy back-to-back bowl wins for the first time since the 2005 Poinsettia Bowl.
Hageman kicked field goals of 43, 37 and 30 yards to keep the SDSU within reach of winning the game.
Down by two with just under six minutes left in the game, the Midshipmen recovered the fourth turnover of the quarter near midfield. On fourth and 1 as SDSU’s 44 yard line, Navy fullback Chris Swain barreled up the middle for 13 yards for a Midshipmen first down. Two plays later, running back Ryan Williams-Jenkins took a pitch from quarterback Keenan Reynolds and gains 28 yards to the SDSU 13-yard line. After the Aztecs called a timeout with 1:30 left in the game, Navy’s Austin Grebe kicks a 24-yard field goal to put the Middies up by one, 17-16.
On the ensuing kickoff, SDSU’s Rashaad Penny, who previously returned two earlier kickoffs to SDSU’s 36-yard line and Navy’s 39-yard line, was stuffed at his own 20. Aztec quarterback Quinn Kaehler saved his most productive series for last. On second and 10 from his 31, Kaehler hit receiver Eric Judge over the middle for 37 yards. Judge appeared to have fumbled the ball upon being tackled, but the ruling on the field was overturned. Kaehler then flipped a shovel pass to running back Donnel Pumphrey, who ran 16 yards up the middle to the 21-yard line.
The Aztecs then ran three plays to get better field position for Hageman’s potential game-winning kick.
Navy scored first after SDSU’s Kaehler his first of two interceptions. Daniel Gonzalez intercepted Kaehler at Navy’s 29-yard line and returned it to the Aztecs’ 42. Ten plays later, Reynolds walked in from the one-yard line for his 63rd career rushing touchdown. Reynolds, a junior, came into this game with the most career rushing touchdowns in NCAA history.
The Aztecs’ Penny returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards to the Midshipmen’s 39-yard line. It only took two minutes for SDSU to tie the game. Pumphrey, who needed only 88 yards coming into this game to become San Diego State University’s single-season leading rusher, scored from five yards out. Hageman’s extra point was good to tie the game at 7-7.
On Navy’s next possession, Reynolds fumble the ball on his own 37-yard line. SDSU only moved the ball three yards on four plays. Hageman came in and kicked his first field goal of the game from 43 yards out, giving the Aztecs the lead 10-7. The Midshipmen had the ball when the first quarter ended.
Hageman kicked his second field goal, this time from 37-yards out, to give SDSU the lead 13-7 with 6:34 left in the half. Navy punted on their next possession and the half ended with the Aztecs stuck on their end of the field.
Navy came out of the half and proceeded to march 92 yards before Reynolds scored from 6-yards out. The Midshipmen gained more yards (92) on that drive than they had combined in the first half (74).
SDSU’s drive stalled at the Navy 43. Joel Alesi punted 28 yards to DeBrandon Sanders, who misplayed the ball when it bounced off his left shoulder. The Aztecs’ Devante Davis recovered the ball at the 18-yard line of Navy. Again, SDSU was unable to move the ball more than 10 yards, so the Aztecs settled on Hageman’s field goal, his third and the school record-breaker.
The fourth quarter featured more turnovers than Peterson’s Donut Corner, located up the road in Escondido.
Navy’s Williams-Jenkins fumbled the ball at 14:08. SDSU’s Kaehler through his second interception of the game 50 seconds later; George Jamison returned the interception 20 yards for the Midshipmen. Four plays later, Reynolds fumbles the ball after a 4-yard loss. Five minutes later, Pumphrey fumbles the ball at midfield.
Navy was finally able to hold on to the ball long enough to get Austin Grebe in position to kick his 24-yard game-winning field goal.
Hageman missed his field goal on the Aztecs’ next possession.
Pumphrey, who averages 146 yards rushing per game, finished with 112 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown. Needing only 88 yards, Pumphrey, only a sophomore, is SDSU’s single season rushing leader.
Navy, who leads the nation with 350 yards rushing per game, finished the night with 254 yards. Chris Swain led the Midshipmen with 72 yards on eight carries. Reynolds finished with nine yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns.
Navy finishes their season 8-5. The Aztecs, who just completed their fifth straight bowl game, finished 7-6.