Back and forth they went. A kickoff return for 87 yards. A pitch around the left end for 60. Touchdown passes for 49 and 37 yards. Two touchdowns scored on fourth downs. A pair of botched onside kicks.
And that was just the first half.
Toledo and Air Force scored early and often Wednesday at the Military Bowl in Washington and played to a wild finish, decided only when Air Force's 2-point conversion attempt went awry with 52 seconds to play to give Toledo a 42-41 victory.
Air Force lined up to kick the extra point after Zach Kauth's 33-yard, fourth-and-3 touchdown catch pulled the Falcons within a point. But holder David Baska ran the option instead, and his pitch to kicker Parker Herrington was low and ended up bouncing out of bounds in the end zone.
The win also marked a successful debut for Matt Campbell, the youngest coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The 32-year-old Campbell, who has been the Rockets' offensive coordinator for three years, was promoted to the head job after Tim Beckman left earlier this month for Illinois.
Bernard Reedy had a career-high 126 yards on four catches and was named the game's MVP. Terrance Owens completed 19 of 24 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Adonis Thomas ran for 108 yards on 22 carries.
Tim Jefferson, the first quarterback in service academy history to lead his team to four consecutive bowl games, completed 13 of 22 passes for 159 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for Air Force (7-6).
Tuesday's Belk Bowl
Moments after Louisville's comeback bid fell short in a 31-24 loss to North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl, Coach Charlie Strong was anxiously looking forward to next season instead of dwelling on the defeat.
Who can blame him?
The Cardinals finished 7-6 this season despite starting 10 freshmen, including promising young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. So their future seems promising following a season in which they finished tied for first place in the Big East and qualified for a bowl.
"We have so much coming back next season," Strong said. "The core of our offense is coming back. On defense we lose (linebacker) Dexter Heyman, which is a big loss for us, but everyone else is back. So we'll take this team in the off-season and hope they'll continue to mature and grow up from this loss. You can always learn something from a loss and this one is going to burn."
Strong said the goal this year will be adding some difference makers, particularly at defensive end and linebacker.
"We need to do a better job of recruiting," Strong said. "It's all about recruiting. We have to continue to build and move forward."
Leading the team into the future will be Bridgewater, who had moments of greatness on Tuesday night and other moments where he appeared lost.
He threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another and nearly brought Louisville back from 21 points down. But he was also picked off three times, making an awful decision early in the game by throwing the ball right to a linebacker three yards in front of him as he was being pressured.
Still, he never quit.
"It's about having heart and not giving up and just that will to win," Bridgewater said.
Top quarterback prospect from Indiana picks LSU
Highly recruited Indiana high school quarterback Gunner Kiel has decided to head to Louisiana and play for LSU.
Kiel tells The Republic of Columbus and The Indianapolis Star that he picked LSU over Vanderbilt and Notre Dame — where his uncle Blair Kiel played quarterback. Kiel's choice comes after he announced in July he would play at long-struggling Indiana, then rescinding his commitment in October.
Kiel says his meetings with LSU Coach Les Miles led to his decision and that his pick "came down to a gut feeling."
Kiel won the Indianapolis Star Mr. Football award this season after leading Columbus East to a 12-2 record as he passed for 28 touchdowns and rushed for 11 touchdowns.
He plans to enroll at LSU Jan. 17 and participate in spring practice.
Munchak: No contact with Penn St., loves Titans
Mike Munchak says he is not heading to Penn State as coach.
The Titans coach said Wednesday he's flattered to be mentioned for his alma mater, but he insists he loves what he's doing in Tennessee.
Munchak says he is going nowhere despite reports in Pennsylvania calling him Penn State's top target to replace Joe Paterno.
This is the third time since Paterno was fired that Munchak has denied interest in the job..