1979 Fiesta Bowl
Pittsburgh 16, Arizona 10
Offensive Player of the Game: Mark Schubert, Pittsburgh
Defensive Player of the Game: Dave Liggins, Arizona
Sportsmanship Award: Dan Fidler, Arizona
Head Coaches: Jackie Sherrill, Pittsburgh - Tony Mason, Arizona
Payout Per Team: $343,300.13
Powerful Pittsburgh arrived in Arizona with an impressive record (10-1) and an equally impressive defensive unit.
The Panthers proved their point, swarming to the ball to force four turnovers. They walked away with a 16-10 victory over Arizona in the 1979 Fiesta Bowl before a crowd of 55,347.
Pitt took advantage of the turnovers, turning three of them into points.
The Panthers were in control most of the game, thanks in part to place kicker Mark Schubert, who booted field goals of 46, 36 and 46 yards to earn outstanding offensive player of the game honors.
Schubert’s first field goal came late in the first quarter after both teams had spent most of the first 15 minutes trading punts. Pitt running back Fred Jacobs carried the ball three straight times to move the ball deep into Arizona’s territory.
But the Arizona defense held its ground, and Schubert booted a 46-yarder to break the ice.
With just 1:36 left before halftime, Pitt quarterback Dan Marino began to move the Panther offense. Taking advantage of two 15-yard penalties on Arizona, Marino moved the ball to the Arizona 15. But once again the Wildcat defense would not allow a touchdown, and Schubert drilled a 36-yard field goal with only 18 seconds left in the half.
Arizona got on the board early in the third quarter, as Brett Weber hit a 38-yard field goal to make the score 6-3.
One of the game’s key plays came at the conclusion of the third quarter, when Marino tossed a 34-yard completion to Mark Dombrowski on a second-and-36. On the third-and-two, Marino hit Ralph Still for 24 yards and, one play later, threw a 12-yard touchdown strike to Benjie Pryor to give the Panthers a 13-3 lead.
Arizona countered midway through the fourth quarter with a 46-yard completion on a halfback option pass from Hubert Oliver to Greg Jackson. Oliver scored on a one-yard run on the next play to narrow the Panther lead to 16-10.
After Pitt was forced to punt with 1:05 left in the game, Panther safety Terry White ended any hope for a Wildcat comeback, by picking off a pass with 58 seconds left.