Dec. 31, 1997
Sun Devils Shut Down Iowa, Win Sun Bowl
EL PASO, Texas - Backup quarterback Steve Campbell threw for a touchdown and Mike Martin ran for 169 yards and a score as 18th-ranked Arizona State picked up its first postseason win in 10 years, a 17-7 victory over Iowa in the Sun Bowl at El Paso, Texas.
Campbell, playing in place of injured starter Ryan Kealy, completed 5-of-11 passes for 109 yards for Arizona State, which had not won a bowl game since defeating Air Force, 33-28, in the 1987 Freedom Bowl.
The Sun Devils, who improved to 10-6-1 all-time in the postseason, finished 9-3 after an 11-1 mark last year that was capped by a loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. It is the first time Arizona State has won at least nine games in consecutive seasons since 1981-82.
The Sun Devils shut down an Iowa offense ranked ninth in the nation in scoring at just under 37 points per game. The Hawkeyes' Tavian Banks, who was fourth in the nation in rushing at 149 yards per contest, was held to only 52 yards on 14 carries.
Matt Sherman, who missed the final five regular-season games with a dislocated right thumb, completed 8-of-22 passes for 120 yards for the Hawkeyes (7-5), who had their two-game bowl winning streak snapped. Iowa, which fell to 8-7-1 in the postseason, has never won three consecutive bowl games.
Arizona State became the fourth Pac-10 Conference school to win a bowl game already this season. Oregon topped Air Force in the Las Vegas Bowl, Washington routed Michigan State in the Aloha Bowl and Arizona defeated New Mexico in the Insight.com Bowl.
The Hawkeyes totaled 30 yards in the first half, just five on the ground, and trailed at halftime, 10-0. They moved inside Arizona State territory on consecutive possessions in the third quarter but were stopped both times when they attempted to convert on 4th-and-1.
Following the second stop, the Sun Devils stormed down the field and took a commanding 17-0 lead when Martin capped a six-play, 58-yard drive with a one-yard run.
Martin had 27 carries as Arizona State outgained Iowa, 377-209, including a 268-19 advantage on the ground.
Iowa avoided its first shutout in four years with 49 seconds remaining when Randy Reiners connected with Ricchard Carter for a 26-yard score. The Hawkeyes were last blanked by Penn State, 31-0, on September 18th, 1993.
This was the lowest-scoring Sun Bowl since 1991, when UCLA edged Illinois, 6-3. The Sun Bowl, which dates back to 1936, is the fourth-oldest bowl game, trailing only the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls.
Arizona State squandered a chance to take break a scoreless tie on the third play of the second when Robert Nycz pushed a 21-yard field goal attempt wide right. The Sun Devils held the ball for close to 11 minutes in the first period but had two other drives end in punts.
Iowa went three-and-out on its next possession and Arizona State drove 55 yards in seven plays for the game's first points. Campbell connected with Lenzie Jackson, who avoided two tackles to complete a 35-yard score.
The Sun Devils extended the lead to 10-0 on the final play of the first half, capitalizing on Sherman's fumble inside the Iowa 30-yard line with a 21-yard field goal by Nycz.