Hawai’i will get to play in their hometown bowl game as they take on the independent BYU Cougars on December 24. Both teams only have five losses on the season and are looking to cap the season off with a win. Here is the 2019 SoFi Hawai’i Bowl Preview.
BYU Cougars (7-5)
Kalani Sitake’s team started off the year 2-4, but finished the season strong to get to seven wins. The Cougars defeated five teams that are bowl-eligible this season. They only had one loss to a team below .500, which came at the hands of USF.
BYU scores 28 points per game, which ranks 71st in the country. They pass for 285.6 yards per game (ranking 24th) and rush for 153.1 yards per game (ranking 71st).
The Cougars had to play several different players at quarterback this season. Zach Wilson started the beginning of the season and came back for the end of the season. Wilson has thrown for 2,108 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 61.9 percent completion. The Cougars have six receivers with over 200 receiving yards and three players with over 500 yards. Tight end Matt Bushman leads them all with 41 receptions for 597 yards and four touchdowns.
For the running game, the Cougars have four players with over 200 rushing yards on the season. Sione Finau leads the team with 359 rushing yards and has found the end zone two times. Lopini Katoa has helped with 307 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
The defense allows 24.4 points per game, which ranks 48th in the country. They allow 181.3 rushing yards (ranked 90th) and 203.8 passing yards per game (ranked 36th). Linebacker Kavika Fonua has been a leader on defense with 78 total tackles this season.
Hawai’i Warriors (9-5)
Nick Rolovich led his team to a nine-win season. The Warriors defeated two bowl-eligible teams this season in Nevada and San Diego State. They only lost to bowl-eligible teams this season with two of their losses coming to Boise State, who they played in the Mountain West Championship Game.
Hawai’i puts up 33.6 points per game, ranking 33rd in the country. They pass for 325.9 yards (ranked sixth) and rush for 143.4 yards per game (ranked 89th).
Cole McDonald has led the Warriors at quarterback for the majority of the season. He has thrown for 3,642 yards, 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on 64.1 percent completion. Hawai’i has five receivers with over 200 receiving yards with four receivers having over 800 receiving yards. Cedric Byrd II, Jared Smart, JoJo Ward and Jason Matthew-Sharsh have created one of the best receiver groups in college football.
Miles Reed leads the team in rushing yards with 891 to go with his eight rushing touchdowns. McDonald has proven to help with the run game with 393 yards on the ground this year.
The Warriors allow 31.7 points per game, which ranks them 97th in scoring defense. They give up 200.8 rushing yards (ranked 105th) and 225.3 passing yards per game (ranked 64th). Defensive back Cortez Davis leads the defense with 11 passes defended this year.
Hawai’i’s pass-heavy attack will give BYU trouble. McDonald will have a while to prepare for the Cougar defense and will have the luxury of playing this bowl game on the island. The Warriors will win a high-scoring game.
Hawai’i Warriors 39 BYU Cougars 36
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