The Tigers were making their first Fiesta Bowl appearance after finishing with a 6-5 record and a 3-4 record in the Big Eight Conference. The Sun Devils were champions of the WAC for the fourth straight year and appearing in their second straight Fiesta Bowl.
Arizona State took the lead early with a Woody Green touchdown run, and added on with another Green run to have a 14-0 lead at the end of the first. Don Johnson narrowed the lead for Missouri, but ASU responded with a Brent McClanahan's touchdown run, later adding on with a Danny White touchdown pass to Ed Beverly to have a 28-7 lead at halftime. Chuck Link caught a touchdown pass from John Cherry to narrow the lead, but the extra point missed, making it only 28-13. Not to be deterred, Link caught another touchdown pass and converted the conversion to make it 28-21 as the third quarter came to a close. The Sun Devils struck back, as Green scored his third touchdown of the day to make it 35-21. But on the kickoff return, Mike Fink returned it 100 yards to make the lead only 7 once again. Beverly caught his second touchdown of the day from White to make it 42-28, and after a failed Missouri drive, Green scored his fourth and final touchdown of the day to give ASU a commanding 49-28 lead. Tommy Reamon ran in for a touchdown late to make the final score 49-35, as ASU won its second straight Fiesta Bowl. ASU set two records that still stand for most total yards (718) and first downs (33), which helped them win despite four turnovers compared to Missouri's three, which hurt them more. Woody Green, who ran for 202 yards on 25 carries for four touchdowns, was named Offensive MVP. 
ASU would make three more Fiesta Bowls before the decade ended, winning two of them. Missouri has not made an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl since this game.