1990 Sunkist Fiesta Bowl
1234 Total
Nebraska 7307 17
Florida State 021200 41
DateJanuary 1, 1990
StadiumSun Devil Stadium
LocationTempe, Arizona
MVPPeter Tom Willis (QB, FSU)
Odell Haggins     (NG, FSU)
FavoriteFlorida State by 3½ points [1][2]
RefereeJimmy Harper (SEC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersCharlie Jones, Merlin Olsen
Nielsen ratings7.9
Fiesta Bowl
 < 1989  1991

The 1990 Sunkist Fiesta Bowl was the 19th edition of the Fiesta Bowl, played on January 1, in Tempe, Arizona. The game featured the sixth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Eight Conference and the independent fifth-ranked Florida State Seminoles.[3][4][5][6]

Game summary

Less than four minutes into the game, Nebraska quarterback Gerry Gdowski threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Morgan Gregory for the only score of the first quarter. Florida State got on the scoreboard with a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peter Tom Willis to wide receiver Terry Anthony, tying the game at seven early in the second quarter. Chris Drennan responded with a 39-yard field goal to put Nebraska ahead 10–7 with over twelve minutes left in the half.

Willis connected with wide receiver Reggie Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown pass and a 14–10 Seminole lead. He later connected with Dexter Carter for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds left in the half, as the Seminoles took a 21–10 lead into the locker room.

With six minutes left in the third quarter, Paul Moore scored for Florida State on a 1-yard touchdown run, but the extra point attempt was blocked and the score was 27–10. With 3:37 left in the quarter, Willis threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game, an 8-yard strike to Johnson, widening the gap to 34–10. With two seconds left in the quarter, Willis threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Terry Anthony for a 41–10 lead. In the second and third quarters, Florida State outscored Nebraska 41–3. Nebraska scored the only points of the fourth quarter on a touchdown run by quarterback Mickey Joseph with 1:16 remaining.[3][7] It was the Huskers' worst defeat in a bowl game in 23 years.

Florida State climbed to third in the final AP poll, while Nebraska dropped to eleventh.

It was the fourth loss in as many appearances at the Fiesta Bowl for the Huskers;[8] they won their next two in 1996 and 2000.


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter



Statistics  Nebraska  Florida
First Downs 18 18
Rushes–yards 46–115 24–72
Passing yards 207 422
Passes 15–26–2 25–41–0
Total yards 322 494
Punts–average 3–34 3–36
Fumbles–lost 5–3 0–0
Turnovers by 5 0
Penalties-yards 6–48 13–135
Time of possession 32:30 27:30


  1. ^ "The latest line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 1, 1990. p. 37.
  2. ^ "Betting line". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). January 1, 1990. p. 14.
  3. ^ a b Long, Gary (January 2, 1990). "No. 5 Seminoles roll over Nebraska". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Knight-Ridder. p. B3.
  4. ^ Berry, Walter (January 2, 1990). "Willis, Seminoles have fiesta in pounding Cornhuskers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. p. 19.
  5. ^ a b "Willis breaks Fiesta records". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 2, 1990. p. 22.
  6. ^ Harig, Bob (January 2, 1990). "FSU plays like No. 1 team, shucks Cornhuskers 41-17". St. Petersburg Times. (Florida). p. 1C.
  7. ^ "Seminoles say they're No. 1". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). news services. January 2, 1990. p. 21.
  8. ^ "Fiesta time for FSU". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1990. p. D3.
  9. ^ a b "Fiesta Bowl". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (box score). January 2, 1990. p. B4.