The 2005 TostitosFiesta Bowl, played on January 1, 2005, was the 34th edition of the Fiesta Bowl. The game was played between Utah and Pittsburgh, in front of 73,519 fans. It is notable for being the first BCS game to feature a team from a non-BCS conference, and the only BCS bowl to feature a non-BCS team prior to the 2006 season, making the trip all the more impressive. (In 2006, the eligibility rules became less strict: the BCS increased from four games to five, and entry required a top 12 finish instead of a top 6.) Utah was led by co-head coaches Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham, and quarterback Alex Smith directed his spread offense. The Utes were nothing short of unstoppable during the regular season, having won all their games by at least 14 points, and held an average lead of 40–14 after three quarters. They played key out-of-conference games against Texas A&M and North Carolina, and defeated five bowl teams by an average of 23.2 points. Utah was a very successful team that broke many school records, including most wins in a single season with 12, 16 straight wins (which would reach 18 in 2005), and 544 points scored in one season.
Going into the game, Utah had been ranked in the Top 10 for 8 consecutive weeks. Pittsburgh was 8–3 and the Big East Conference champion. Utah raced to a 28–0 lead and held on for a convincing 35–7 win. Alex Smith had a magnificent showing, completing 29 of 37 passes for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns, as he went on to impress NFL scouts and became the number 1 overall draft pick. He was also the MWC Offensive Player of the Year, TSN Player of the Year, a Walter Camp finalist, a Davey O'Brien finalist, finished fourth in the Heisman voting, and the Fiesta Bowl MVP. Paris Warren was Smith's go-to man during the game, as he caught a Fiesta Bowl record 15 passes for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns.