Despite more than 1,100 yards of total offense and 59 points, the final outcome wasn’t decided until Washington State’s Aaron Price drilled a 22-yard field goal to give the Cougars a 31–28 win over Utah in the 4th Annual Cactus Bowl.
WSU’s Drew Bledsoe looked the part of the first player to be taken in the National Football League Draft, completing 30 of 46 passes for a Cactus Bowl record 476 yards and two touchdowns. Both scoring tosses went to Phillip Bobo, including a Cactus Bowl record 87-yarder.
The Cougars spurted to a seemingly comfortable 21–0 lead as Bledsoe threw for 196 yards in the first quarter to lead the Cougars on touchdown drives of 72, 90 and 75 yards.
But the Utes, making their first bowl appearance in nearly three decades, staged a furious rally to tie the game by the end of the third quarter.
The Utes’ rally became official when quarterback Frank Dolce threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Sean Williams and Keith Williams had a 25-yard scoring run to cut Utah’s defecit to 21–14.
After the two teams exchanged long touchdown passes — Bledsoe hit Bobo on a 48-yard pass, Dolce connected with Henry Lusk on a 49-yard pass — Utah running back Pierre Jones scored on an eight-yard run to tie the game heading to the fourth quarter.
The Cougars regained the lead at 31–28 on the short field goal by Price, but Utah recovered a fumble and had the ball first-and-goal at the WSU five-yard line. The Cougars’ defense responded by keeping the Utes followed by Utah’s short missed field-goal attempt that would have tied the game.
Bobo logged seven receptions for a Cactus Bowl record 212 yards and Shaumbe Wright-Fair posted 123 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Cougars.
Dolce finished with 316 yards passing, Keith Williams added 112 yards on the ground, and S. Williams finished with 127 yards receiving for Utah.