The 1997 edition to the Humanitarian Bowl was the 1st (inaugural) edition of the bowl game. It featured the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Utah State Aggies. This was Cincinnati's first bowl game in 46 years and first bowl win since 1949.
Cincinnati took a 7-0 lead on a 14 yard touchdown pass from Chad Plummer to Cornelius Bonner. They led 14-0 on a 14 yard scoring pass from Deontey Kenner to Cornelius Bonner. Lendon Smith scored on a 1 yard touchdown run as Cincinnati took a 21-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Chad Plummer scored on a 15 yard touchdown run making the score 28-0. Utah State got on the board with a 75 yard touchdown pass from Matthew Sauk to Steve Smith. Cincinnati answered with a 7 yard Orlando Smith touchdown run making the score 35-7. Utah State scored on a 3 yard touchdown run making the score 35-13 at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Utah State's Brent Passey scored on a 10 yard fumble return making the final score 35-19.