1972 Fiesta Bowl
2nd edition
1234 Total
Missouri 071414 35
Arizona State 1414021 49
DateDecember 23, 1972
StadiumSun Devil Stadium
LocationTempe, Arizona
MVPWoody Green (ASU HB)
Mike Fink  (Missouri DB)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersLindsey Nelson, Eddie Doucette
Fiesta Bowl
 < 1971  1973

The 1972 Fiesta Bowl was the second edition of the college football bowl game, played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday, December 23. Part of the 1972–73 bowl game season, it matched the unranked Missouri Tigers of the Big Eight Conference and #15 Arizona State Sun Devils of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).[1][2] Arizona State never trailed, gained over 700 yards on offense, and won again on its home field, 49–35.[3][4]

This was the first of two consecutive Fiesta Bowls played at night.


Main article: 1972 NCAA University Division football season


Main article: 1972 Missouri Tigers football team

The Tigers finished the regular season with a 6–5 overall record, 3–4 in the Big Eight Conference, with upset wins over Notre Dame, Colorado, and Iowa State.[2] This was Missouri's first bowl appearance in three years.

Arizona State

Main article: 1972 Arizona State Sun Devils football team

The Sun Devils were champions of the WAC for the fourth straight year, the only conference loss was by two points at Wyoming in late September. The other blemish was a home loss to independent Air Force. ASU had won the previous year's inaugural Fiesta Bowl.

Game summary

Televised by Hughes, the kickoff on Saturday night was shortly after 6 p.m. MST.[1] It was the only bowl game of the day, played after the first two NFL divisional playoff games.

Arizona State took the lead early with two touchdown runs by All-American halfback Woody Green, taking a 14–0 lead at the end of the first. Missouri fullback Don Johnson scored from a yard out to narrow the lead, but ASU responded with fullback Brent McClanahan's one-yard run, followed by Danny White's 34-yard touchdown pass to split end Ed Beverly to increase the lead to 28–7 at halftime.

Missouri's Chuck Link caught a touchdown pass from quarterback John Cherry to narrow the lead, but the extra point missed, making it only 28–13. Not to be deterred, Link caught another touchdown pass and converted the conversion to make it 28–21 as the third quarter came to a close.

The Sun Devils struck back, as Green scored his third touchdown of the day to make it 35–21. But on the kickoff return, Mike Fink returned it 100 yards to cut the lead back to seven. Beverly caught his second touchdown of the day from White to make it 42–28, and after a failed Missouri drive, Green scored his fourth touchdown to give ASU a commanding 49–28 lead. Tiger halfback Tommy Reamon had 31-yard touchdown run to make the final score 49–35, as ASU won its second straight Fiesta Bowl.

ASU set two records that still stand for most total yards (718) and first downs (33), which helped them win despite four turnovers compared to Missouri's three, which hurt them more. Green ran for 202 yards on 25 carries (8.1 avg.) for four touchdowns and was named Offensive MVP;[5] in addition, backfield mate McClanahan had 171 yards on 26 carries (6.6 avg.) with a touchdown.


First quarter
Second quarter
Third quarter
Fourth quarter


Statistics    Missouri    Arizona State
First Downs 16 33
Yards Rushing 44–229 65–452
Yards Passing 182 266
Passing 12–27–3 13–24–3
Return Yards 61 44
Total Offense 71–411 89–718
Punts–Average 6–37.8 3–43.6
Fumbles–Lost 1–0 2–1
Turnovers 3 4
Penalties–Yards 2–10 6–50


While in the WAC, Arizona State appeared in three more Fiesta Bowls, winning its next two (1973, 1975). Through 2024, Missouri has yet to return to the Fiesta Bowl.


  1. ^ a b "Can MU slow Sun Devils at Fiesta Bowl tonight?". Lawrence Daily Journal-World. (Kansas). Associated Press. December 23, 1972. p. 11.
  2. ^ a b Ferguson, George (December 22, 1972). "Mizzou, ASU square off for Fiesta". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. B8.
  3. ^ a b c "Green-led Sun Devils roll past Missouri". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 24, 1972. p. 3B.
  4. ^ a b c "Arizona St. Fiesta king". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. December 24, 1972. p. B3.
  5. ^ "1972 Fiesta Bowl - Arizona State vs. Missouri". Archived from the original on January 3, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2015.