Inaugural Cactus Bowl - Fiesta Bowl | Fiesta Bowl

The Pac-10 Conference’s Arizona Wildcats and Atlantic Coast Conference’s North Carolina State Wolfpack clashed in the inaugural Insight (Copper) Bowl on New Year’s Eve, 1989, in front of 37,237 fans on the Wildcats’ home field at Arizona Stadium on a 59-degree evening.

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The Pac-10 Conference’s Arizona Wildcats and Atlantic Coast Conference’s North Carolina State Wolfpack clashed in the inaugural Insight (Copper) Bowl on New Year’s Eve, 1989, in front of 37,237 fans on the Wildcats’ home field at Arizona Stadium on a 59-degree evening.

The Wildcats were dominated statistically (310–130 total yards, 222–80 passing yards, 23–8 first downs, 38:06–21:54 time of possession), including a season-low 50 yards rushing, but two unlikely heroes, receiver Olatide Ogunfiditimi and linebacker Scott Geyer, made big plays to overcome the statistical imbalance.

In the first quarter, neither team could sustain drives, but the Wildcats dented the scoreboard first when quarterback Ronald Veal found a double-covered Ogunfiditimi for a 37-yard touchdown pass, his only reception of the game. It was one of only five Wildcat pass completions in the game.

Geyer, the defensive most valuable player, intercepted Wolfpack quarterback Shane Montgomery and raced 85 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

N.C. State fought back behind Montgomery, the offensive most valuable player who finished with 222 yards passing. He capped a nine-play, 56-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to fullback Todd Varn to cut Arizona’s advantage to 14–7.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 17–7 on a 34-yard Gary Coston field goal before halftime.

Arizona rode its staunch defense to victory in the nearly-scoreless second half. Wolfpack kicker Damon Hartman’s 43-yard, third-quarter field goal provided the only scoring for either team. Montgomery, however, almost broke the draught and Arizona fans’ hearts when he just missed diving receiver Chris Williams over the middle for the potential tying touchdown with 1:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The game’s leading rushers were Reggie McGill (49 yards) for Arizona and Anthony Barbour (41 yards) for North Carolina State.

The Arizona victory was the first bowl win in Head Coach Dick Tomey’s 13-year head coaching career.

Arizona finished the season 8–4; the Wolfpack closed at 7–5.

  • Stadium:

    Arizona Stadium

  • Attendance:

    37,237

  • Offensive Player of the Game:

    Shane Montgomery, North Carolina State

  • Defensive Player of the Game:

    Scott Geyer, Arizona

  • Head Coaches:

    Dick Tomey, Arizona - Dick Sheridan, North Carolina State

  • Weather:

    Clear, 59 Degrees

Quarter Scores

Scoring1234F
North Carolina State073010
Arizona7100017

Yardstick

NCSARIZ
23First Downs23
37-50Rushes-Yards37-50
80Passing Yards80
21-47-2Passes21-47-2
10Return Yards10
7-37.7 Punts7-37.7
3-2Fumbles-Lost2-2
5-47Penalties-Yards6-49

How They Scored

NCSARIZ
07Olatide Ogunfiditimi 37 yard pass from Ronald Veal (Gary Coston kick)
014Scott Geyer 85 yard interception return (Gary Coston kick)
714Todd Varn 4 yard pass from Shane Montgomery (Damon Hartman kick)
717Gary Coston 34 yard field goal
1017Damon Hartman 43 yard field goal

Individual Statistics

Rushing
NCSAnthony Barbour 16-41, Aubrey Shaw 9-26, Todd Varn 7-23, Tyrone Jackson 6-14, Greg Manior 5-6, Al Byrd 1-(-3), Shane Montgomery 5-(-19)
ARIZReggie McGill 14-49, Michael Bates 3-6, Michael Streidnig 2-5, Mario Hampton 5-2, Errol Sapp 3-2, Ronald Veal 10-(-14)
Passing
NCSShane Montgomery 21-46-1-222, Mike Kavulic 0-1-1-0
ARIZRonald Veal 5-15-1-80.
Recieving
NCSAl Byrd 6-67, Todd Varn 5-25, Todd Harrison 2-43, Mike Kavulic 2-26, Anthony Barbour 2-19, Reggie Lawrence 2-16, Chris Williams 1-13, Bobby Jurgens 1-13
ARIZReggie McGill 2-23, Olatide Ogunfiditimi 1-37, Mario Hampton 1-14, Michael Bates 1-6