20th Annual Cactus Bowl
Stadium: Sun Devil Stadium
Offensive Player of the Game: Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas
Defensive Player of the Game: James Holt, Kansas
Sportsmanship Award: Jack Simmons, Minnesota
Head Coaches: Mark Mangino, Kansas - Tim Brewster, Minnesota
Weather: Clear, 73 degrees
Television: NFL Network
Payout Per Team: $1,350,000
It didn’t take Kansas long to make sure the scoreboard operator was working.
On the game’s first snap, Todd Reesing threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Dezmon Briscoe as the Jayhawks rolled to a decisive 42-21 win over Minnesota in the 20th Annual Cactus Bowl.
Briscoe finished with a Bowl record 14 receptions for 201 yards and three touchdowns to earn offensive player of the game honors. Kerry Meier had 10 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass.
After the quick touchdown by Kansas, the Gophers responded with two of their own on short touchdown runs by Jon Hoese to take a 14-7 lead. But the Jayhawks reeled off 28 unanswered points to take command of the game.
Reesing completed 27 of 35 passes, hitting on a school-record 14 straight passes in the first half, and finished with 313 yards and four touchdowns.
The Jayhawks were making their first back-to-back bowl appearance after appearing in the Orange Bowl the previous year and won three straight bowl games for the first time in school history.
Minnesota, which began the season 7-1, cut the lead to 35-21 on a 6-yard pass from Adam Weber to Eric Decker early in the fourth quarter, but the Gophers’ offense stalled after that.
Decker finished with eight receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown and Weber was 19 of 34 for 176 yards passing. Hoese scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter on his first collegiate carry and scored again nine minutes later from two yards out.
James Holt of Kansas set a Cactus Bowl record with three sacks and tied the Bowl record with four tackles for loss to earn defensive player of the game honors.