9th Annual Cactus Bowl
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
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.