Both teams were independents. The Beavers were led by Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker in their first bowl game in five years as the Beavers had won seven straight games before this one, with highlight being a 27-0 win over No. 12 Stanford, a 51-22 rout of No. 19 West Virginia, and a 20-17 win after trailing 17-6 at halftime over Oregon. The Wildcats were in their second straight bowl game.
Bad weather made the field frozen, and the weather never reached above 25 degrees, making efforts at getting toward the end zone nearly futile. Although Oregon State was the clear favorite, the Wildcats kept the game close. The game's only score came on a 99-yard run by Baker with under 10 minutes left in the first quarter. Trapped at their one after a punt, Baker was almost sacked by Al Atkinson for a safety. But he broke free, running by the sideline and sprinting toward the end zone. Despite two chances at a chance for two more points, their conversion attempt fell short, leaving it at 6-0. Villanova had a Billy Joe touchdown called back due to a penalty and had another chance intercepted by the Beaver defense. Baker went 9 of 21 passes for 123 yards and accounted for 250 of the team’s 299 yards. This was the first bowl win for the Beavers since 1942 and the last bowl win for the Beavers until the 2001 Fiesta Bowl.