2021 EasyPost Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs. Memphis, Preview, Odds, How To Watch
Warriors taking on Tigers in a unique matchup
Hawaii going with a backup QB
The Hawaii Warriors will face the Memphis Tigers out of the Conference USA on Christmas eve in the Easypost Hawaii Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 pm Hawaii time and the game will be played at TC Ching Field on the campus of UH Manoa.
The Tigers come into the game with a 6-6 record. They started the season off 3-0 including a 31-29 win over an SEC opponent in Mississippi State but they stumbled and struggled through conference play with a 3-5 record and needed a win over Tulane in the season finale to become bowl eligible.
Initially, this article was going to be centered around the Tiger’s star receiver Calvin Austin III who recorded 1,149 receiving yards and 9 total touchdowns this season. However, on December 13th Austin III announced that he would be opting out of the Hawaii bowl to prepare for the NFL draft. Reports say that Austin III has been dealing with an ankle injury for a good portion of the season and wants to prioritize getting healthy leading up to the draft. Tight end Sean Dykes has also been productive as the Tiger’s second leading receiver with 657 yards and 7 touchdowns on the year and he is slated to play in the Christmas eve match up.
On the ground, leading rusher Brandon Thomas (669 yards, 8 TD) has not played since a November 13th loss to ECU due to an injury. Rodrigues Clark has filled in during his absence and has rushed for 387 yards and 4 touchdowns with a 4.9 yards per carry average.
The Tigers are replacing their defensive coordinator as Mike MacIntyre accepted the head coaching position at FIU. Defensive back coach Charles Clark was named the interim defensive coordinator. Leading the defense is linebacker JJ Russell who was selected as a first-team All C-USA selection and finished the season with a team leading 123 tackles.
Congratulations to @MemphisFB and @HawaiiFootball set to compete at the upcoming @HawaiiBowl. We'll see you at kickoff on Dec. 24!#bowlbound #hawaiibowl #bowlgames #collegefootball #ESPNevents #GoTigersGo #WinEveryDay pic.twitter.com/AwuDtdk2zP
— easypost (@easypost) December 3, 2021
The Hawaii Bowl will feature two Freshman gunslingers out of Texas who have shared the field together before. Memphis true freshman Quarterback Seth Henigan is a Denton Ryan High School product and was teammates with Hawaii defensive back Ty Marsh. Denton Ryan defeated Highland Park High School led by Hawaii’s new starting quarterback Brayden Schager on their way to a Texas 5A State championship. Unlike Schager, Henigan was named the starter from week one. This season he has thrown for 3322 yards, 25 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
Quarterback Brayden Schager steps into the starting role after Chevan Cordiero’s transfer to division rival San Jose State. Schager started three games this season while Cordiero dealt with a shoulder injury and led the Warriors to their biggest win of the season over a ranked Fresno State.
— Chev🤫 (@iam_clcxii) December 12, 2021
Although the defense carried the load by forcing six turnovers against the Bulldogs, Schager threw for two touchdowns and took care of the ball in the win. He did well when he made quick decisions and got the ball out of his hand but he lacks the same kind of mobility that Cordeiro has.
Another Warrior stepping into a new starting role is running back Dedrick Parsons. Parsons has had a great first season with the Bows and has shown that he too can handle a starting load. Parsons’ emergence this season will lighten the blow of losing Dae Dae Hunter to Liberty. He has run for 618 yards and 8 touchdowns and has also added 279 yards and another touchdown through the air.
WHEN: Friday, December 24 — 8 p.m. ET
WHERE: Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex; Honolulu, Hawaii
WEATHER: 78 degrees, 42% chance of rain
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes ESPN, by following this link.
ODDS (as of 12/18, via Vegas Insider): Fresno State -11.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Memphis by .6
FEI PROJECTION: Memphis 2.4
The Warriors will be led on defense by first team all-MWC selections linebacker Darius Muasau and Safety Khoury Bethley. The pair has wreaked havoc on Offenses all season and look to continue the momentum through the bowl game and into next season.
This is a matchup of two teams that are in transition and it will be interesting to see what team is more motivated for the Christmas Eve game. The Warriors had a rough start to the month of December with the news of transfers and dissension between the players and some members of the coaching staff, but it sounds like they have improved communication and are looking to send the seniors out on a good note. If anything it is the last chance for Warrior fans to see Calvin Turner Jr. one more time before he moves on and chases his NFL dream. I hope the Bows have rallied around the seniors and those that have stuck around and put on a good performance on national television. As always, let’s go Bows!