Syracuse opened up a 6–0 lead following field goals of 46 and 34 yards from John Biskup. In the second quarter, quarterback Kordell Stewart threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Sean Embree to give Colorado a 7–6 lead. That would close out the first half scoring.
With 6:22 left in the third quarter, tailback David Walker scored on a 13-yard touchdown run. Up 12–7, Syracuse opted for two, but failed, leaving the score at 12–7, Syracuse. Colorado's Mitch Berger connected on a 38-yard field goal with 3:10 left in the quarter, to cut the lead to 12–10.
Facing a third and 10 on Colorado's 28-yard line, Marvin Graves took it himself, and ran 28 yards for a touchdown, increasing Syracuse's lead to 19–10 with 1:33 in the quarter. Colorado running back James Hill ran for 61 yards a few plays later, to set up a 16-yard slant pass from Stewart to Charles Johnson. The all-important extra point was missed, and Syracuse held on to a 19–16 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Kirby Dar Dar took a reverse handoff from Qadry Ismail and scored on a dazzling 100 yard kickoff return, increasing the lead to 26–16. Following a 6-yard touchdown run, Colorado pulled to within 26–22, but the extra point missed. The kicking game decided the outcome of the game.