Iowa scored first on a 5-yard touchdown run from Rick Bayless, taking a 7-0 lead. San Diego State answered on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Todd Santos to running back Chris Hardy to make it 7-6 Iowa, closing the 1st quarter of scoring. In the second quarter, Santos fired a 44 yard bomb to Matt Jakson, as SDSU took a 14-7 lead. Iowa's Mark Vlasic scored from 1 yard out, and SDSU led 14-13. Todd Santos threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Monty Gilbreath, giving San Diego State a 21-13 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Gilmore scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 28-13 SDSU. Iowa responded when Hudson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run making it 28-21 SDSU. In the fourth quarter, Chris Hardy scored on a 6-yard run, and SDSU went up 35-21. Iowa responded with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Vlasic to Cook making it 35-29. Iowa then took the lead on a 4 yard score from Vlasic to Flagg.
San Diego State's kicker Kevin Rahill kicked a 21-yard field goal with 47 seconds left to put the Aztecs up 38-36. Iowa's Kevin Harmon returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards to the SDSU 37-yard line. Iowa kicker Rob Houghtlin kicked a 41-yard field goal, as Iowa won 39-38.