9th Annual Cactus Bowl

Arizona 20, New Mexico 14

9th annual cactus bowl
December 27, 1997

Attendance: 49,385

Stadium: Arizona Stadium

Offensive Player of the Game: Trung Canidate, Arizona

Defensive Player of the Game: Jimmy Sprotte, Arizona

Head Coaches: Dick Tomey, Arizona - Dennis Franchione, New Mexico

Weather: Clear and cool, 47 degrees

Television: ESPN

Payout Per Team: $750,000

Arizona rushed for 209 yards and intercepted four passes to win a hard-fought defensive battle over New Mexico, 20–14, in front of 49,385 fans, the largest crowd to watch the Cactus Bowl.

Running back Trung Canidate registered 97 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and backfield mate Kelvin Eafon logged 19 carries for 75 yards and two scores to lead the Wildcats rushing attack in the 9th Annual Cactus Bowl at Arizona Stadium.

The Lobos relied on a balanced offensive game plan with 140 rushing yards and 150 passing yards to keep the outcome in doubt, but the four interceptions proved costly, including one with less than five minutes remaining in the game after New Mexico had crossed midfield.

Wildcat defensive back Chris McAllister intercepted a pass in the first quarter, Kelvin Hunter and Rashee Johnson each had a pick in the second quarter and Kelly Malveaux had the deciding pickoff in the fourth quarter he returned 44 yards to seal the deal for Arizona.

Fifth-year senior quarterback Brady Batten earned the start for Arizona after missing most of the season with an injury. He played the first three quarters before deferring to Ortege Jenkins in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats lit the scoreboard first on a 15-yard touchdown run by Eafon. The Lobos tied the game in the second quarter on a 69-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Graham Leigh to Milton Thomas.

Arizona answered on its next possession, a three-yard run by Canidate, but missed the extra point, to lead 13–7 at the break. Eafon added a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Leigh scampered four yards to pull the Lobos within 20–14.

Neither team scored in the final quarter as the Wildcats relied on Eafon and Canidate to run out the clock.

Quarter Scores

Scoring
1
2
3
4
F
New Mexico
0
7
7
0
14
Arizona
7
6
7
0
20

Yardstick

NM
ARIZ
16
First Downs
19
35-140
Rushes-Yards
59-209
150
Passing Yards
89
12-32-4
Passes
7-22-2
29
Return Yards
54
7-40.7
Punts
9-38.7
0-0
Fumbles-Lost
0-0
5-23
Penalties-Yards
5-39

How They Scored

NM
ARIZ
0
7
Kelvin Eafon 15 yard run (Mark McDonald kick)
7
7
Milton Thomas 15 yard pass from Graham Leigh (Jason Cason kick)
7
13
Trung Canidate 3 yard run (kick failed)
7
20
Kelvin Eafon 1 yard run (Mark McDonald kick)
14
20
Graham Leigh 4 yard run (Jason Cason kick)

Individual Statistics

Rushing
NM
Graham Leigh 17-79, Lennox Gordon 3-42, Reginal Johnson 6-23, Chris Shelton 3-3, Dion Marion 6-(-7).
ARIZ
Trung Canidate 24-97, Kelvin Eafon 19-75, Dennis Northcutt 2-25, Kevin Schmidtke 9-24, Keith Smith 1-6, Brady Batten 1-(-4), Ortege Jenkins 3-(-14).
Passing
NM
Graham Leigh 12-32-4-150.
ARIZ
Brady Batten 7-17-0-89, Ortege Jenkins 0-4-1-0, Keith Smith 0-1-1-0.
Receiving
NM
Pascal Volz 5-51, Milton Thomas 3-39, Brian Messer 1-35, Chris Shelton 1-18, Tony Doran 1-15, Reginal Johnson 1-(-8).
ARIZ
Bradley Brennan 3-33, Michael Lucky 2-37, Dennis Northcutt 2-19.