It wasn't just a loss. But a huge loss for Japan. And obviously, it was a huge win for the United States.
Team Japan then went ahead 10-7 with a 49-yard field goal by kicker Yosuke Kaneoya, supported by a strong follow wind that started blowing with hard rain earlier with 8:02 left in the second period.
Trying to catch up with Japan, Team USA looked for moving the ball in the ground game around Kasperbauer. But contrarily Austin had tough time connecting passes with his receivers, while the Japanese defensive backs did great jobs for not giving space to the American wideouts as well.
"As the whole defense, we were going to do everything we could do as entering this game," Takayuki Terada said. "Me personally, even with the gap to them in body size, I had confidence we wouldn't get beaten. As defensive backs, we played good against the opponent's passing."
The U.S. team managed to equal the contest at 10 all with a field goal with 4:18 left in the third quarter. But the strong-minded Japan then attacked the U.S. territory again with its variety of offensive plays, including Tomizawa's mastery ball-tossing.
With the 7:07 left in the fourth, Tomizawa fed another perfect pass to tight end Takuro Mayuzumi in the end zone to put the score 17-10 in favor for Japan.
But the U.S. would not let the champion trophy go to the Japanese side so easily. It got into the serious mode in the decisive final quarter and put more pressure on the Japanese defense with the powerful running game.
Team USA made an 80-yard drive, and Kasperbauer concluded the series with a game-tying 5-yard rushing touchdown with 2:51 remaining in the regulation.
In the first series, both the U.S. and Japan ended up making a field goal, renewing the score at 20 all. But in the top of the second series, Kaneoya's 34-yard field goal attempt glinted off the goal posts.
"One of our defensive players, Chris Thorner, got the piece of the kick and knocked it out of the line," Mackovic explained on the play.
In the following offense, the U.S. runners set the table for Coffin, who would go on to easily make the game-winner.
The United States ended the heart-popping game in a dramatic fashion. "We were not able to move the ball very well," Mackovic said. "But I want to give the credit to our defense for not giving up many points.
"We knew neither team would not give many points in this game. So we were fortunate to battle back in the fourth quarter."
After all, the United States was the king of the sport, as expected. But Japan played almost evenly with the pride of the reigning champs.
"No matter what kind of score it would be, we just wanted to be ahead of them even by one point in the end," Tomizawa said. "While we have things we can win against the Americans, we have things we are superior to them."
Said wide receiver Naoki Maeda, one of the collegiate players on the Japan squad, of his possible revenge in four years: "I want to beat the United States. In terms of preciseness of plays, I think Japan was better."
Lastly, Abe, who led Japan to the titles in the last two World Championships, confessed that Japan has now got closer than before.
"After all, the United States were still the strongest. But we have the feeling that we've approached closer to them a bit."