Unranked Iowa upset no. 12 Missouri in the 22nd Cactus Bowl behind a bludgeoning 225-yard rushing attack and a key fourth-quarter defensive play.
After taking an early 7–3 lead, the Big Ten Conference’s Hawkeyes struck suddenly when freshman running back Marcus Coker, who finished the night with 221 rushing yards on 33 carries, both Iowa bowl-game records, raced 62 yards, the Hawks’ longest run of the season, for the first of his two rushing touchdowns.
Add a Mike Meyer field goal to cap Iowa’s nine-play, 69-yard drive on its next possession and the Hawkeyes enjoyed an unexpected 17–3 lead.
A 10-yard touchdown dash by Missouri running back Henry Josey late in the second quarter pulled the Tigers within 17–10 at halftime.
After another Meyer field goal midway through the third quarter extended Iowa’s lead to 20–10, the Tigers began to growl with consecutive touchdown drives of eight plays covering 77 yards and nine plays of 57 yards. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert accounted for both scores, the first a seven-yard run, the second a three-yard pass to tight end Michael Egnew.
Mizzou had its first lead at 24–20 and seemingly had seized the game’s momentum with little more than the fourth quarter to play.
But “Big Mo” switched sides of the field with less than six minutes to play when Hawkeye defensive back Micah Hyde returned his interception of Gabbert 72 yards for what proved to be the winning touchdown.
Gabbert completed 41 of 57 passes, both Cactus Bowl records, for 434 yards, all Missouri bowl marks, and one touchdown. His Iowa counterpart, Ricky Stanzi, connected on 11 of 21 throws for 200 yards.
Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe caught a Cactus Bowl-record 15 passes for 152 yards.
The attendance of 53, 453 set a Cactus Bowl record at Sun Devil Stadium.
Iowa’s victory snapped the Big Ten’s four-game Cactus Bowl losing streak against Big 12 Conference teams.