Iowa scored on a 13 yard touchdown run from tailback Mike Saunders, opening up a 6-0 lead, for the first quarter's only points. In the second quarter, Saunders added a 5 yard run, putting the Hawkeyes up 13-0. Ty Detmer's 9 yard scoring strike to Peter Tuipuloto making it 13-6. In the fourth quarter, Detmer found Scotty Anderson for a 27 yard strike, as BYU evened the score at 13-13.
With 4:19 remaining in the game, BYU got the ball on their 23 yard line. After six plays, the Cougars reached the Hawkeye 18-yard line. The ensuing play resulted in Detmer's only interception when his pass deflected off his intended receiver and was intercepted by co-Defensive MVP Carlos James. Iowa then settled for the tie by not trying to advance the ball with their offense.
It was the first tie ever in the Holiday Bowl, and it was also the lowest scoring Holiday Bowl. It was the final college game for Detmer, who won the Heisman Trophy the previous season. This is also the last tie football game in major college football bowl history.