TUCSON, DEC. 31 -- Mike Pawlawski passed for a touchdown and Greg Zomalt ran for one today as California withstood a Wyoming comeback to win the Copper Bowl, 17-15, for its first postseason victory in 53 years.

Zomalt scored on a four-yard run with 13:38 remaining to cap an 11-play drive that gave California a 17-3 lead.

Pawlawski threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brian Treggs in the second quarter and Robbie Keen kicked a 46-yard field goal in the third quarter for California (7-4-1).

Jay Daffer's 11-yard touchdown run capped an 83-yard drive with 5:53 left as Wyoming (9-4) pulled to 17-9, and Robert Rivers's 70-yard pount return for a touchdown with 49 seconds remaining made it 17-15.

Tom Corontzos, whose two-point conversion pass after Daffer's touchdown failed, was sacked by Joel Dixon while scrambling to find a receiver on a second two-point try after Rivers's runback.

Before Rivers's score, Wyoming forced California to punt with 3:44 remaining, and Corontzos drove Wyoming from its 22 to California's 27. But Sean Fleming's 41-yard field goal attempt was wide left.

Anthony Wallace rushed 17 times for 76 yards for California.

The school defeated Alabama, 13-0, in the 1938 Rose Bowl.

Wyoming held Russell White to 18 yards in 14 carries. White and Wallace eached gained 1,000 yards during the regular season.

California, which finished fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference, became the first Pac-10 team to win a bowl game this year. Arizona, Oregon and Southern Cal have lost in the Aloha, Freedom and John Hancock bowls, respectively.

Wyoming became the second Western Athletic Conference to lose a bowl this year, joining Brigham Young.