PROVO, Utah, Dec. 8, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Mountain West Conference Championship runner-up University of Hawaii (9-5) has been selected to play BYU (7-5) in the 2019 SoFi Hawaii Bowl.
The game will take place on Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. at Aloha Stadium, said a news release from BYU Athletics. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
“The University of Hawaii has enjoyed a tremendous season and we are thrilled the Rainbow Warriors accepted an invitation to play BYU,” SoFi Hawaii Bowl executive director Daryl Garvin said.
BYU accepted its invitation on Nov. 16 to play in the 18th annual SoFi Hawaii Bowl, and now knows its opponent will be the hometown Rainbow Warriors.
“Hawaii is a really good team and I’m looking forward to the matchup,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “I have tons of respect for Nick Rolovich and his entire coaching staff. I love the way they play the game. It will be an honor for us to take the field with them at Aloha Stadium.”
BYU enters the Hawaii Bowl having won five of its last six games. The Cougars started the season as the only program to play three ranked teams and four Power 5 opponents in their first four games.
“BYU’s five wins against teams with winning records ranks tied for No. 7 nationally, topped only by LSU, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson, Boise State and Oregon,” the news release said. “Overall, BYU played four ranked opponents and nine of its 11 FBS opponents finished the season bowl eligible.”
The Cougars finished the regular season ranked No. 24 in passing offense at 285.6 yards per game, despite starting three different quarterbacks. During the team’s final five games — all in November — BYU boasted the nation’s No. 8 offense at 520.6 yards per game, No. 13 passing offense at 323.0 yards per game and No. 34 rushing offense at 197.6 yards per game.
On defense, BYU tied for No. 9 nationally with 15 interceptions, while ranking tied for No. 18 in turnovers gained with 22. The Cougar defense also proved effective limiting big plays, finishing tied for No. 6 in fewest plays of 20 or more yards allowed with 37.
BYU and Hawaii will be playing for the 32nd time in a series that dates back to 1930. The two are former conference rivals from the days of the Western Athletic Conference. The two schools first matched up in 1930 in Honolulu and played just four times over the next 47 years before Hawaii joined the WAC in 1978. Beginning in 1978, the two played in 22 of the next 25 seasons before revisiting the series in 2011 for four more games up to the present. BYU holds a 23-8 advantage in the series, with a 13-8 edge in Hawaii.
The two schools have several historical connections over the years, the news release said. Sitake spent much of his youth growing up on the North Shore of Hawaii, while Rainbow Warriors’ head coach Nick Rolovich quarterbacked Hawaii to the program’s last win over the Cougars in 2001. Rolovich tossed a school-record eight touchdown passes against BYU, spoiling the Cougars’ undefeated run after 12 straight wins.
Tickets are on sale for the Hawaii Bowl at BYUtickets.com. Ticket prices begin at $35. Buying tickets through the BYU Ticket Office ensures that you will sit among other Cougar fans and helps support the BYU football program, the news release said.