2019 SoFi Hawai’i Bowl Preview: Hawai’i vs BYU
Who will win in this former WAC matchup?
Look for a lot of points.
Who: Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors(9-5) vs BYU Cougars(7-5)
When: Tuesday December 24th @ 3:00 pm HST 6:00pm MT
Where: Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI
Radio: ESPN Honolulu
Odds: BYU by -2
Series Record: BYU leads overall 13-4, 7-4 in Honolulu. First meeting in bowl game.
Could we see fireworks before New Year’s Eve in the SoFi Hawai’i Bowl?
Sand, surf and sunshine are just a few things the Cougars and fans are looking forward to as they make their trek to Honolulu. But facing the “home team” ‘Bows not so much. Hawai’i fans dislike BYU and makes them a rivalry team yet it has not been much based on the series record. The notion is from the Cougar’s 10 game winning streak blowing out UH back in the 80’s that left Hawai’i coaches, players, and fans circling the date of the next meeting between the two for some payback. On October 29th 1989 the nationally ranked Cougars finally faltered and were routed 56-14 and the following year UH spoiled BYU QB Ty Detmer‘s Heisman winning party with a 59-28 drubbing.
Fast forward to recent times and you might see a similar pattern as BYU has a five game winning streak with the Rainbow Warriors last win a 72-45 romp on the 9th ranked and then undefeated Cougars back in 2001. Hawai’i actually had a bowl eligible record at 9-3 but was left out as mainland bowls who did not want to invite UH for lack of fans traveling. Thus the Hawai’i Bowl was born a year later to give the ‘Bows a chance for an extra game and exposure on national TV.
We may see three QBs in this game that can light up the scoreboard through the air and also extend drives with their legs. BYU’s Zach Wilson is 4-4 this year with two P5 wins over 24th ranked USC and at Tennessee. The true sophomore stats( 2,108 yards, 11 TDs 7 INTs) are limited due to an injury that left him out of October and early November.
Hawai’i redshirt Junior Cole McDonald has had an up and down season notching two PAC 12 wins over Arizona and Oregon State earlier in the season. Even though he racked up 3,642 yards and 29 TDs his turnovers with 14 INTs or fumbles has cost him the full time position as QB1. McDonald seems like he wants to end 2019 on a high note for the seniors and possibly his career at UH with a win over the Cougars.
“I want a bowl ring, I want a 10-win season, I want a new stadium, but I want to experience this last ride with these guys,” explained McDonald. “A lot of these guys I may never see again, let alone play with, I want to enjoy this moment and take it all in with these guys. They’re my best friends for life; I want to have fun and play ball.”
His reliever Chevan Cordeiro has many UH fans excited about the future of the program as they are witnessing a very talented “local boy” quarterback since the Bryant Moniz or even the Timmy Chang days. The redshirt Freshman has been throwing with confidence amassing 907 yards and scrambling for 210 with his signature shootout win against San Jose State. Although he got injured in the Army game and didn’t see time in the MW championship game against Boise State, we may see him if healthy at some point in this game because Hawai’i head coach Nick Rolovich says they both deserve some meaningful game time.
Other notable offensive players:
Hawai’i WR Cedric Byrd(95 rec 1,068 yds 10 TDs)
RB Miles Reed(164 car 891 yds 8 TDs)
WR Jason Matthew Sharsh(80 rec 823 yds 4 TDs
BYU RB Lopini Katoa (74 car 307 yds 3 TDs)
WR Talon Shumway(40 rec 539 yds 4 TDs)
TE Matt Bushman(41 rec 597 yds 4 TDs)
The two defenses we’ll see on the field will probably have a hard time stopping the opposing offenses if both offenses are playing to the potential that they have shown throughout the season. BYU’s offense has been balanced for the most part but I would look to see some deep passes from Wilson early on the game to exploit Hawaii’s secondary. Hawaii’s best corners Rojesterman Ferris and Cortez Davis will need to have big games to eliminate the big plays BYU is capable of making.
The run and shoot offense is no secret now and there is plenty of tape for the Cougar’s defense to look up but it’s always different when it’s game time and in real speed. There should be a lot of adjustments before and during halftime to slow down the Rainbow Warriors. The Cougar’s secondary is talented with FS Austin Lee(55 tackles) and CB Dayan Ghanwoloku(60 tackles). Up front the Cougars only produce 12 sacks but will need to put a ton of pressure on McDonald or Cordeiro and get them out of their game.
Other notable defensive players:
Hawai’i LB Solomon Matautia(75 tackles 2 INTs)
S Khoury Bethley(73 tackles)
BYU LB Kavika Fonua(78 tackles 2INTs)
LB Isaiah Kaufusi(53 tackles 2 INTs)
Any Bowl predictions you see online will be suspect and this one is no different. It’s too hard to predict who the coaches will actually play or how much emphasis they have on winning unless you’re playing in a NY6 bowl or the playoffs. Sure no one wants to lose but most coaches try to balance the game plan, having fun, and letting some younger players get more reps for their future development. I’ll expect a slow start by both teams before Hawai’i can get some momentum maybe from a big play through the air and eventually put up big numbers in the second half.