Iowa Hangs On to Tie Brigham Young : Holiday Bowl: Hawkeyes’ James intercepts Detmer pass in the end zone to preserve 13-13 result.


With less then half a minute left to play in Monday night’s Holiday Bowl, Brigham Young was inside the Iowa 20 and driving for a winning touchdown or field goal.

But the last pass by Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer ended up in the hands of Iowa’s Carlos James and the game ended in a 13-13 tie before 60,646 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

It was the first tie in the 14-year history of the Holiday Bowl. Players and coaches on both sides said they had expected more points. But they came to Western Athletic Conference country and got a Big Ten game.

Iowa (10-1-1) failed to score during the second half after taking an early 13-0 lead. The Hawkeyes were caught by surprise by BYU’s aggressive stunts and blitzes, something the Cougars hadn’t shown all season.


“All they did was stunts,” said Iowa quarterback Matt Rodgers, who completed 19 of 28 passes for 221 yards, mostly in the first half. “After first down, they brought the house. You’ve got to take advantage of that and get some big plays. We had a few, but not enough.”

Brigham Young is unbeaten in its last 10 games, but finishes at 8-3-2, with both ties coming here. The Cougars tied San Diego State in November, 52-52.

Erratic kicking on both sides was costly. Each team missed an extra point, and Brigham Young’s Keith Lever missed a 33-yard field-goal attempt with 7:45 to play. Teammate Eral Kauffman missed from 41 yards during the first half.

Iowa’s Jeff Skillett missed a 40-yarder that might have won it with 4:19 to play.


Iowa Coach Hayden Fry said: “After coming in here twice and winning on last-second kicks (in 1986 and ’87), it came down to the kicking game again, and this time we missed. Our kicker pulled a groin muscle four days ago. I’m sure his timing or lack of timing had a lot to do with it. I feel so sorry for the young man, because he’s heartbroken.”

Skillett’s miss gave Detmer the ball with 4:19 left and 77 yards to go. Detmer opened with an 11-yard pass to Eric Drage. His next pass was long and nearly intercepted, but he came back with an eight-yarder to running back Jamal Willis.

The Cougars drove into Iowa territory, Detmer finding Drage again for 11 yards and running back Peter Tuipulotu for 13 yards. On third and one Detmer ran a two-yard sweep to the 18.

On what turned out to be the last play of his college career, Detmer rolled left, looked for a receiver in the end zone, then tried to go across the middle to tight end Byron Rex. The pass was high, tipped off Rex’s fingers and was intercepted by James in the end zone.


“It shouldn’t have been thrown,” Detmer said. “I know better than to throw a pass like that at that point of the game. Keep the ball in the middle of the field, kick a field goal and we win the game.”

Despite the ending, Detmer was voted the outstanding offensive player of the game, with 350 yards on 29-of-44 passing.

Iowa’s James and BYU back Josh Arnold were voted defensive players of the game.

Iowa established its running game at the start, Mike Saunders going 18 yards on the second play, then went to the pass.


Rodgers completed his first eight passes and the Hawkeyes drove 74 yards after the opening kick to take a 6-0 lead on Saunders’ 13-yard run, but missed the extra point.

Iowa made the score 13-0 early in the second quarter, driving 89 yards as Saunders, who finished with 103 yards to lead all rushers, went the final five. During that series, Rodgers completed a 39-yard pass to Jon Filloon for a first down at the Brigham Young 16-yard line. Rodgers was 12 of 14 for 142 yards during the half.

Detmer, who completed 12 of 17 passes for 161 yards during the half, got the Cougars into the end zone on their final drive before the halftime. The Cougars went 78 yards, the last nine on a Detmer pass to Tuipulotu with 52 seconds left. The score was 13-6 after Kauffman missed the extra point.

Except for the drive that ended in Skillett’s missed kick, Iowa never mounted another serious drive.


“We really played a chess game to keep (Detmer) off-balance--any time you hold Brigham Young to 13, you should win the game,” Fry said. “Everybody’s real sad and heartbroken in our locker room.”

Said Saunders: “Thirteen points is not enough to win the game. I’m definitely disappointed (in the offense). Nobody’s happy with a tie.”

Brigham Young, at least, seemed to be able to live with it. “It didn’t entirely surprise me we played well defensively,” Coach LaVell Edwards said. “It surprised me we didn’t take advantage of our scoring opportunities.”

To that Detmer added, “I’m not going to lose sleep over a tie. But I will over that last pass.”


Holiday Bowl Winners 1991--Iowa 13, Brigham Young 13, tie 1990--Texas A&M; 65, Brigham Young 14 1989--Penn St. 50, Brigham Young 39 1988--Oklahoma St. 62, Wyoming 14 1987--Iowa 20, Wyoming 19 1986--Iowa 39, San Diego St. 38 1985--Arkansas 18, Arizona St. 17 1984--Brigham Young 24, Michigan 17 1983--Brigham Young 21, Missouri 17 1982--Ohio St. 47, Brigham Young 17 1981--Brigham Young 38, Wash. St. 36 1980--Brigham Young 46, SMU 45 1979--Indiana 38, Brigham Young 37 1978--Navy 23, Brigham Young 16