Iowa struck first as quarterback Brian Reader connected with Jesse Schmidt on a 19-yard touchdown during the game’s opening drive. The Blaze tied the game with their first possession, as Chase Deadder took a handoff and punched it into the end zone to complete a seven-play, 45-yard series.
Utah’s defense turned up the heat on the Barnstormers, promptly halting the offense with turnovers on back-to-back possessions. Three plays into the ensuing drive, rookie defensive back Arness Ikner picked off the pass attempt by Reader and Kyle Brotzman converted the turnover into a 21-yard field goal to give the Blaze a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ikner loudly made his presence felt a series later, stifling yet another Iowa possession as he stepped in front of Reader’s pass and outmuscled a receiver to secure his second interception. With the ball in hand, Inker scampered 28 yards to the end zone for a touchdown to give the Blaze a 17-7 advantage.
J.J. Raterink stepped into the game at quarterback for the Barnstormers and tossed a 22-yard touchdown to Darius Reynolds on the following drive. Utah matched the score as Deadder rumbled into the end zone from a yard out for his second rushing touchdown of the night.
The Barnstormers found the end zone again during the next drive as Raterink scored on a quarterback sneak, but Utah would get the final word of the second quarter. After Tommy Grady launched a 41-yard completion to LaVaughn Macon, Deadder snared a two-yard touchdown pass to give the Blaze a 31-21 lead at the midway point.
Utah added to its advantage midway through the third quarter with an eight-play, 44-yard drive. Grady capped off the series with a 16-yard throw to DeJay Lester, who barreled through defenders before stretching the ball over the goal-line for the touchdown. Iowa finally responded late in the quarter, as Raterink hit Marco Thomas for a score.
The ensuing kickoff by Ross Gornall hit high off the nets and bounced into the arms of Barnstormers defensive back Ter’Ran Benton. Iowa converted the net recovery into a score early in the final frame, as Raterink found Marco Thomas in the end zone to cut the lead, 38-35. The Blaze offense needed just three plays to answer, as Macon hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Grady before slamming in the dasher board walls.
Utah’s defense took to the field again and denied the Barnstormers on fourth down, executing a dominant goal-line stand to force a turnover on downs. After regaining possession, Grady fired a 13-yard strike to Lester to give Utah a 52-35 lead late in the fourth.
Iowa added points late in the contest as Raterink connected with Schmidt for a 23-yard touchdown and Utah closed out the scoring with a 23-yard field goal by Kyle Brotzman.
As part of the Bacon Bowl festivities, Utah was presented with a unique bacon trophy and each player was given a five pound package of uncooked bacon.