The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl turned into a classic last-score-wins offensive shootout, and a battle of the nation's No. 3 passing offense vs. the No. 4 rushing offense was, in the end, won by the superior aerial attack.
Louisiana Tech's Jonathan Barnes booted a 32-yard field goal as time expired to finish off a 48-45 victory over No. 25 Navy in a scoring fest befitting of a bowl game played in Big 12 country at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
"We knew it wasn't going to go easy," Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said. "We knew we'd have to earn it in a 60-minute game. It took every second to get it done."
Barnes got the winner, but the program's third consecutive bowl win was another well-deserved national showcase for the Bulldogs' prolific trio of quarterback Ryan Higgins and his trusty wideouts Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson.
Higgins threw for 409 yards and four touchdowns on 29-of-40 passing. Taylor caught 12 of those passes for 233 yards and two scores. Henderson chipped in 10 catches, 129 yards and the other two TDs. As they have all year long, they made it look too easy. Both wideouts came up with big 20-plus yard catches to help Higgins drive 70 yards in nine plays and set up the victory kick.
In a game featuring 93 combined points and 956 yards, Navy's offense more than held its own despite missing a slew of key starters. Zach Abey cranked out 273 total yards in his second career start, and Malcolm Perry -- the backup who famously came down from the stands as the emergency fourth-string QB in Navy's opener -- busted loose for a 30-yard touchdown run with four minutes to go after a targeting hit to the chest sidelined Abey.
Perry's breakaway score tied it at 45-45 and was just one more swing in an entertaining back-and-forth affair. But when the game was on the line, there was just no stopping Louisiana Tech's terrific trio.