34th Annual Fiesta Bowl - Fiesta Bowl | Fiesta Bowl

People were calling them the BCS Busters. Others were calling them Cinderella. Regardless of the title, Utah proved that it was simply one of the best teams in the nation, capping its perfect season with an exclamation point on the bright BCS stage. The Utes ran their spread-it-around offense to perfection and flew to the ball on defense to coast to a 35-7 win over Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl in prime time on New Year’s Day.

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Utah head coach Urban Meyer announced before the game that he would be taking the Florida job at the end of the season. He was on the sideline to lead the Utes to their most impressive season in their most improbable game to cap a 12-0 season in historic fashion, leaving the school with its first undefeated, untied season since 1930.

Utah became the first team from a non-BCS conference to earn a spot in one of the four BCS bowls by running the table, with dominating victories over Texas A&M, Arizona and North Carolina.

They were just as dominant on this night, featuring one of the nation’s most explosive and complicated offenses led by quarterback Alex Smith, who earned a trip to New York as one of the Heisman Trophy finalists, another first for the Utah program.

Smith showcased his talents and versatility to a national television audience with four touchdown passes and a Fiesta Bowl record for passing efficiency. Paris Warren caught 15 of his passes to shatter the previous Fiesta Bowl record, giving Smith and Warren co-offensive player of the game honors, a first in Fiesta Bowl history.

The most creative Smith-to-Warren connection came on a hook-and-ladder play with Steve Savoy catching the pass from Smith before lateraling to Warren who ran 18 yards untouched for the final points of the game.

Utah scored touchdowns on five of its first seven possessions, including all three in the third quarter to bring a loud, red and raucous crowd of Utah fans to their feet early and often throughout the game.

The Utes defense did its own damage on the field, holding a potent Pittsburgh attack to seven points and 17 net yards rushing, while recording a Fiesta Bowl record nine sacks. The Panthers were in Utah territory three times in the first half, but four sacks and a block field goal attempt kept them scoreless.

  • Stadium:

    Sun Devil Stadium

  • Attendance:


  • Offensive Player of the Game:

    Alex Smith, Utah - Paris Warren, Utah

  • Defensive Player of the Game:

    Steve Fifita, Utah

  • Sportsmanship Award:

    Dan Stephens, Pittsburgh

  • Head Coaches:

    Urban Meyer, Utah - Walt Harris, Pittsburgh

  • Weather:


Quarter Scores



19First Downs25
251Passing Yards328
0Return Yards10

How They Scored

07Quinto Ganther 4 yard run (David Carroll kick)
014John Madsen 6 yard pass from Alex Smith (Carroll kick)
021Marty Johnson 18 yard pass from Smith (Carroll kick)
028Paris Warren 23 yard pass from Smith (Carroll kick)
728Greg Lee 31 yard pass from Tyler Palko (Josh Cummings kick)
735Warren 18 yard pass from Smith (Carroll kick) (Smith passed to Steve Savoy, who lateraled to Warren)

Individual Statistics

PITTTyler Palko 14-(-44), Tim Murphy 12-37, Marcus Furman 3-17, Adam Graessle 1-7.
UTAHAlex Smith 15-68, Marty Johnson 9-20, Quinto Ganther 6-34, Paris Warren 1-17.
PITTTyler Palko 22-40-0-251.
UTAHAlex Smith 29-37-0-328.
PITTJoe Delsardo 9-109, Greg Lee 7-93, Tim Murphy 4-42, Marcus Furman 2-7.
UTAHParis Warren 15-198, Steve Savoy 7-70, John Madsen 4-27, Marty Johnson 1-18, Travis LaTendresse 1-9, Quinto Ganther 1-6.