Heading into the 1992 Aloha Bowl, Kansas football was in a downward tailspin. After starting the season off well, winning seven of their first eight games, even rising up to No. 13 in the polls, the turning point in the season was the game against No. 7 Nebraska – a game that the Huskers won 49-7.
The Jayhawks then lost to No. 13 Colorado and Missouri to close out their season at a surprising 7-4. Before 1992, Kansas football had not won more than six games since 1981.
Kansas finished the then-Big 8 in third behind Nebraska and Colorado.
Led by quarterback Chip Hilleary and running back Maurice Douglas, the Jayhawks traveled to Hawaii to face BYU. Ahead of the Christmas Day game, questions arose of whose fans would be more prominent in the stadium.
When asked about the possibility of a massive turnout, head coach Glen Mason said to the Associated Press, "I'm not really sure, but riding in that parade the other day, we found some Jayhawk supporters.”
BYU entered the game as the nation's fifth-best passing attack, averaging 298 yards and nearly 30 points a game. Due to multiple injuries, fourth-string quarterback Tom Young, brother of Steve Young, was tapped to start the game.
The game itself did not start out well for Kansas as BYU running back Hema Heimuli ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown to put BYU up 7-0 early. BYU was not ahead for long as Hilleary passed the ball to receiver Matt Gay, who then passed it to Rodney Harris for a 73-yard touchdown.
Later in the first quarter, with the Cougars pinned against their own end zone, junior lineman Chris Maumalanga burst through the BYU offensive line to tackle running back Jamal Willis in his own end zone for a safety.
With 10:16 left in the second quarter Willis got his revenge as he burst through for a 29-yard touchdown putting BYU up 14-9. At the half, BYU led the Jayhawks 14-12 after a Dan Eichloff field goal.
The second half did not get off to the smoothest of starts for the Jayhawks as BYU scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Young to Otis Sterling.
Hilleary would not let BYU run away in the second half as he led the Jayhawks on a six play 75-yard drive capped off by a one-yard run and a successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 20-20.
With just over seven minutes left on the clock, the Kansas defense stepped up and forced BYU into a punt to give the Jayhawks the ball with plenty of time to put a game-winning drive together.
Hilleary led the Jayhawks on a seven-minute drive to the 33-yard line–setting up a 48-yard field goal for Eichloff. With 2:57 left, Eichloff made the field goal and ultimately gave Kansas a 23-20 victory.
"When you keep having opportunities to score and you don't, it comes back to haunt you," BYU head coach LaVell Edwards said in the postgame press conference, according to the Deseret News.
BYU was in control most of the game as its offense racked up 404 total yards but the clutch play of the Kansas running backs was able to keep Kansas in the game as they rushed for 172 yards as a unit.
Kansas would go back to the Aloha Bowl in 1995, where it would defeat UCLA. Mason won both of his bowl game appearances in the 90s and held a coaching record of 47-54 in nine seasons at Kansas.