Rocky Long finally lived up to the billing of not kicking the ball on fourth down, just a few years too late. San Diego State was leading 16-14 with nine minutes left in the game, and had a chance to increase that lead with a chip shot field goal on Navy's 12-yard line. Instead of kicking, Long elected to go for it on 4th-and-5 but the pass was incomplete.
Long's decision to go for it was based on scoring just one touchdown in three red zone attempts in this game, and when asked in the post game press conference Long said he would do it again.
"I thought that we'd had so many opportunities down there in the red zone and had to continue to kick field goals," he said. "It was time to score a touchdown, and I knew, if we didn't score a touchdown, we would develop field position, which we did, and we had field position all the way until we fumbled. I'd do it again."
Navy wound up kicking the eventual game-winning field goal with 87 seconds left in the game to go up 17-16. The Aztecs had one last chance to win the game, but Donny Hageman missed a manageable 34-yard field goal. Hageman had been very good all year and set a single-season Aztec record with 20 field goals, and made all three of his prior attempts.
One play decision does not make a game because the Aztecs still had a chance to win the game. Even at the end of the game Long wanted to be aggressive and wanted to score a touchdown before the last field goal attempt.
"There was a discussion about [centering the ball]," Long said. "Our field goal kicker is good from any spot. Once you get inside the 35-yard line, he makes them from anywhere at any time. Honestly, we were trying to score a touchdown. We thought, if we didn't score a touchdown, we'd make the field goal and still win. But he didn't kick it quite right."