The Utes led 35-25 with one minute to play, but a 58-yard touchdown pass to Zerbin Singleton and a perfectly executed onside kick gave the Midshipmen late life before Joe Dale intercepted Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada to preserve the Utah victory.
Utah quarterback Brian Johnson earned Offensive MVP honors as he threw for 226 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another as Utah won its seventh straight bowl game. Running back Darrell Mack, a San Diego native, also rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns, including what proved to be the winning score.
Navy was led by a steady rushing attack that amassed over 300 yards on the ground, but early turnovers kept them out of the endzone. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo suffered his first defeat as he took over for the recently departed Paul Johnson, who was hired as the new head coach of Georgia Tech.
The game started off as a battle of defenses and field position as Navy went into halftime with a slim 10-7 lead. It was only a matter of time before these two high-power offenses got on track, as the two teams combined for 50 points in the second half. After Navy led 17-7, Utah rattled off 21 straight points and never relinquished the lead.
Joe Dale received Defensive MVP honors as he finished the game with a team-high 12 tackles to go along with his game-saving interception.