10th Annual Cactus Bowl
Missouri 43, West Virginia 31
Stadium: Arizona Stadium
Offensive Player of the Game: Marc Bulger, West Virginia
Defensive Player of the Game: Jeff Marriott, Missouri
Head Coaches: Larry Smith, Missouri - Don Nehlen, West Virginia
Weather: Partly cloudy, 62 degrees
Payout Per Team: $750, 000
Missouri relied on the Joneses to win its first bowl game since 1981.
Corby Jones rushed for three touchdowns and Julian Jones intercepted a pass and blocked a punt for a safety as the Tigers survived a furious second-half rally to beat West Virginia 34–31 in the 10th Annual Cactus Bowl.
Missouri staked itself to leads of 24–3 and 31–10 before weathering the Mountaineers’ comeback behind strong special teams play and the rushing of Devin West and Corby Jones. West, the no. 5 rusher in Division I-A entering the game, finished with 125 yards on 31 attempts, while Jones posted 51 yards rushing and 130 yards through the air.
The Tigers took a 7–0 lead when Jeff Marriott blocked a field-goal attempt and Carlos Posey scooped the ball near the sidelines and raced untouched for the score. C. Jones had two touchdown runs in the first half and J. Jones blocked a punt through the end zone for a safety to give Missouri a 24–3 halftime lead.
West Virginia quarterback Marc Bulger threw four second-half touchdowns passes, including a nine-yard toss to Amos Zereoue that cut Missouri’s lead to 31–24 with 10:27 to play.
But C. Jones led a 14-play, 76-yard drive that consumed 6:43 before stalling at the one-yard line to set up an 18-yard field goal by Brian Long. Bulger quickly led the Mountaineers down the field and threw a one-yard touchdown pass to David Saunders to pull WVU to within 34–31 with 2:11 to play.
But Missouri’s Dwayne Blakley recovered the onsides kick and the Tigers ran out the clock.
Mizzou, after appearing in their first bowl game in 13 years the previous season, won a postseason game for the first time since the 1981 Tangerine Bowl.
Bulger finished with a school record 429 yards passing and Shawn Foreman set a Cactus Bowl record with 11 receptions for 189 yards.