FORT WORTH, Texas — Jonathan Barnes kicked a game-ending 32-yard field goal and Louisiana Tech beat Navy 48-45 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Friday.
The Bulldogs (9-5) drove for the winning score after Navy freshman quarterback Malcolm Perry ran 30 yards for a touchdown on his only play.
Ryan Higgins threw for 409 yards and four touchdowns, two each to Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson. Taylor, a 5-foot-8 senior for Louisiana Tech, set an Armed Forces Bowl with his 12 catches for 233 yards. Henderson had 10 catches for 129 yards.
Navy (9-5), which was trying for its first consecutive 10-win seasons, instead ended with its third straight loss. The Midshipmen lost the American Athletic Conference title game before its first loss to Army since 2001.
Perry, whose TD with 3:46 left tied the game for the fourth time, came in after Zach Abey took a shot to the ribs on a play that led to a targeting ejection by Tech defensive tackle Jordan Bradford.
Abey, who made only his second start, ran for 114 yards and two scores and threw for 159 yards and another touchdown.
Louisiana Tech: Coach Skip Holtz and the Bulldogs won their third straight bowl, also reaching nine wins for the third consecutive season. It is the first time as a Division I team that Tech has accomplished both of those feats. After falling 21-17 early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs regained the lead on Henderson's 3-yard TD before Navy tied the game for the first time — but never went ahead again.
Navy: After being held to 270 yards rushing in the previous two losses, this was more like the Midshipmen triple-option offense. They had 459 total yards, 300 on the ground. Even so, it was a bitter end for Navy, which had won three straight bowl games — a streak that started with an Armed Forces Bowl victory three years ago.
Louisiana Tech: After three senior QBs threw for more than 3,000 yards over the past three seasons, sophomore J'Mar Smith could be starting when the Bulldogs open next season against Northwestern State. WR Taylor will be gone, but Henderson has another season of eligibility and could be a prime target.
Navy: The Midshipmen go into the offseason with their first losing streak since they had a three-game slide in the 2014 season. They have a long time for their first chance to snap that streak, in the 2017 opener at Florida Atlantic on Sept. 2.