The Cyclones had finished 8-3 for the third straight year, going from being tied for 4th to 2nd to 3rd, respectively. This was their fourth bowl game of the decade. Emory Bellard had resigned as Aggie head coach after a 4-0 start led to two straight losses in Southwest Conference play. Tom Wilson led the Aggies to a 3-2 record down the stretch to get A&M to their fourth straight bowl season.
Bruce left for his alma mater Ohio State after the game, and the Cyclones would wait 22 years until their next bowl appearance. Texas A&M did not wait as long for their next bowl appearance, going to the Independence Bowl in 1981.