Sports News, Sports Scores: Orange County Register
College Football
Preview
Hawaii vs Brigham Young
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii



SOFI HAWAI'I BOWL STORYLINES

1. Hawai'i and BYU were longtime rivals in the Western Athletic Conference before the turn of the century and now will square off in the postseason for the first time in the Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Eve. BYU has a decided edge in the series with 23 victories in 31 meetings and has beaten the Rainbow Warriors in each of the last two years, rolling to a 49-23 victory at home last season and earning a 30-20 win at Aloha Stadium in 2017. Hawai'i advanced to the Mountain West championship game before losing for the second time this season (31-10) to Boise State, which suffered its only loss against the Cougars (28-25) on Oct. 19 in Provo, Utah.

2. The obvious edge is the home-field advantage for the Rainbow Warriors, who will be playing in the Hawai'i Bowl for the second straight season and ninth time in 18 years, but BYU coach Kalani Sitake is more concerned about the opponent than the locale. "We played them last year, but they’re a different team now," Sitake said. "They’re really balanced and a tough team. They play physical. I think it will be a good matchup for our guys." Playing at Aloha Stadium doesn't equate to a gimme for Hawai'i, which suffered a 31-14 loss to Louisiana Tech last season to fall to 4-4 in the Hawai'i Bowl, while the Cougars have a proud postseason history, making their 37th bowl appearance since 1974 and 14th in the past 15 seasons.

3. Both Sitake and Hawai'i's Nick Rolovich not only became first-time head coaches when they took over their respective programs in 2016 but each played for their schools. Sitake, who spent part of his childhood in Hawai'i, was a fullback for BYU when it shared the conference title in the inaugural season of the Mountain West in 1999, while Rolovich was a quarterback with the Rainbow Warriors the last time they beat the Cougars, tossing a school-record eight scoring passes in a 72-45 romp in December 2001. “BYU at Aloha Stadium on Christmas Eve, there may not be a better combination for Hawai‘i fans,” Rolovich said. "The Cougars have had a great season and we’re looking forward to our fans coming out to Aloha Stadium to see a battle with a classic rival.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: BYU -2

ABOUT BYU (7-5): The Cougars, who used three different starting quarterbacks this season due to injury, averaged 39.8 points during a five-game winning streak that was snapped when they were limited to a season-low total in a 13-3 loss at San Diego State on Nov. 30. Zach Wilson, who committed three turnovers to offset a season-high 316 yards passing in the season finale, has three receivers with at least 40 receptions, with tight end Matt Bushman averaging 14.6 yards and scoring four times on 41 catches. Linebacker Kavika Fonua has recorded a team-high 78 tackles for an opportunistic defense that tied for ninth in the country with 15 interceptions and forced 22 turnovers to rank 18th nationally.

ABOUT HAWAI'I (9-5): Quarterback Cole McDonald ranks fifth nationally with 3,642 yards, throwing for 29 touchdowns versus 14 interceptions, but he surpassed 250 yards passing only once in the final six games and had a season-worst passer rating versus Boise State. Cedric Byrd II has 95 catches for 1,068 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead a talented wide receiver corps that features a trio with at least 80 catches and a fourth (JoJo Ward) with a team-leading 11 scoring passes. Miles Reed has rushed for eight touchdowns and is within 109 yards of reaching 1,000, while linebacker Solomon Matautia leads a defense that improved after allowing at least 50 points in three of the first six games.



PREDICTION: Hawai'i 30, BYU 27
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Hawaii 9-5 L1 33.6 31.7 6-2 3-3 1-0 0-0 5-4
Brigham Young 7-5 L1 28.0 24.4 4-2 3-3 5-4 0-0 2-0
Last Meeting
Hawaii Brigham Young
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/13/18 HAW 23 BYU 49 311 63 248 475 281 194
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Hawaii C. McDonald 57.9 248 2 1
Brigham Young Z. Wilson 66.7 194 3 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Hawaii D. Furuta 10 28 2.8 1
Brigham Young M. Hadley 10 95 9.5 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Hawaii J. Ursua 9 89 9.9 1
Brigham Young A. Hifo 3 45 15.0 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Hawaii D. Furuta 2
Brigham Young R. Burt 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Hawaii C. McDonald 64.1 3642 29 14
Brigham Young Z. Wilson 62.7 2108 11 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Hawaii M. Reed 164 891 5.4 8
Brigham Young S. Finau 59 359 6.1 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Hawaii C. Byrd II 95 1068 11.2 10
Brigham Young M. Bushman 41 597 14.6 4
Touchdowns Player TD
Hawaii J. Ward 11
Brigham Young A. Hifo 5
Quickchart Matchup
Hawaii Hawaii Off vs  Brigham Young Brigham Young Def
Hawaii 469.7 yards
Brigham Young 385.1 yards
Hawaii 5.1 yards/rush
Brigham Young 4.5 yards/rush
Hawaii 7.8 yards/attempt
Brigham Young 6.9 yards/attempt
Brigham Young Brigham Young Off vs  Hawaii Hawaii Def
Brigham Young 439.5 yards
Hawaii 426.4 yards
Brigham Young 4.4 yards/rush
Hawaii 5.6 yards/rush
Brigham Young 8 yards/attempt
Hawaii 7.1 yards/attempt