QUALCOMM STADIUM (12/23/2014) San Diego State kicker Donny Hageman tied a Poinsettia Bowl record with three made field goals, but it was the one he missed from 34 yards with 20 seconds left to play that decided the game.
With no timeouts left, the Navy Midshipmen (8-5) was able to kneel on the ball and seal their first win over the Aztecs (7-6) in school history.
Sophomore Donnel Pumphrey rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries to become SDSU's single-season rushing leader with 1,867 yards. He passed George Jones who set the record with 1,842 yards in 1995.
"Honestly, it's great but we didn't get the win," said Pumphrey, who lost a fumble late in the fourth quarter that led to the game-clinching field goal. "It was a hard one."
San Diego State's defense recovered four fumbles for the first time since their 2003 meeting with UCLA.
"It's awesome when the defense gets a turnover," said linebacker Josh Gavert, who matched his career-high with 11 tackles. "But we made too many mistakes and they made one more play than we did."
With a 16-14 fourth quarter lead, the Aztecs made a questionable decision to go for it on fourth-and-5 from Navy's 12-yard line instead of kicking what should have been a chip-shot field goal. Instead they turned the ball over on downs after Quinn Kaehler's pass to Oceanside product Mikah Holder fell incomplete.
"If we score points down there then it doesn't come down to a field goal," said Aztecs head coach Rocky Long. "You've got to give Navy a lot of credit. We had so many opportunities in the red zone."