2016 Hawaii Bowl Prediction, MTSU vs. Hawaii Game Preview, History, Scores

2016 Hawaii Bowl Prediction, MTSU vs. Hawaii Game Preview, History, Scores

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2016 Hawaii Bowl Prediction, MTSU vs. Hawaii Game Preview, History, Scores

Hawaii Bowl Prediction, Hawaii vs. Middle Tennessee Game Preview, History, Scores


Three reasons why you should watch the Hawaii Bowl between Hawaii (6-7) vs. Middle Tennessee (8-4), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Date: Saturday, December 24
Game Time: 8:00 pm
Venue: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
Network: ESPN

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 31 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Hawaii Bowl

It’s Hawaii on December 24th. No matter where you are in the world, and no matter how idyllic the Norman Rockwell holiday setting you’re immersed in might be, it’s not Honolulu. It’s also the only bowl going for the entire weekend. What are you going to do, talk to your family and watch the NFL? Of course not.

Is this the true launching of the Nick Rolovich era? It’s been a strong first year under Hawaii’s first year head coach, but the offense isn’t back to being the Hawaii offense quite yet. It’s the bowl game – the Rainbow Warriors are going to open it up. Throw in their total aversion to coming up with a defensive stop, and this should be a shootout.

Can Middle Tennessee stay hot? The Blue Raiders can crank up the O, averaging over 40 points per game including a wild and crazy 77-56 win over FAU to end the regular season. They’re going to wing it around the yard.

Here’s Why Middle Tennessee Will Win The Hawaii Bowl

The Hawaii defense is just a rumor. However you want to move the ball, the Rainbow Warrior defense will allow you do it. The defensive front has been ripped apart for over 240 rushing yards per game with 30 scores. Everyone’s been able to pound away at will – the Blue Raiders closed out the season with a 495-yard, nine-score rushing day against Florida Atlantic.

No, really, the Hawaii defense is just a rumor. The Rainbow Warriors can be forgiven for allowing a big day to Cal to start the season, but the secondary didn’t show up against anyone but Air Force. Even with the Falcon 1-of-10 passing day factored in, Hawaii is allowing passers to hit 63% of their passes and hasn’t come up with a pick in the last three games. Middle Tennessee averages 317 passing yards per game.

No, REALLY, no joke, the Hawaii defense is just a rumor. It’s not going to take the ball away. The Rainbow Warrior offense is good for a few turnovers a game, but the real problem is a defense that’s generated just three takeaways over the last six games. It came up with five in the wins over UT Martin and San Jose State, and four in the other 11 games.

Here’s Why Hawaii Will Win The Hawaii Bowl

Does Middle Tennessee have a quarterback? Star Brent Stockstill has a shot to come back after suffering a broken collarbone earlier in the year, and backup John Urzua suffered a concussion against FAU. The Blue Raiders used receivers to get through the regular season finale, and now they have to hope their passers can stay in one piece.

The Middle Tennessee defense isn’t miserable, but it can be hit hard. It gives up way too many first downs and gets moved on way too easily, allowing 44 points or more in five of the final seven games and allowed 31 and 35 in those other two games. Marshall has no offense – it put 42 up on the board. FAU was zero O – 56. Hawaii, at home, in a bowl game, get ready for the offense to step it up, especially on the ground against a mediocre defensive front.

Hawaii has something in Dru Brown. The Rainbow Warrior quarterback has been solid since taking over the starting job a few games into the season. Good for around 200 yards per game, he stepped up his play against Air Force with a big 312-yard games, and rocked UMass for 311 yards and five touchdowns. This needs to be his breakout moment on a national scale.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Hawaii Bowl

Hawaii – the setting, not the team – has a way of screwing things up. This really is a bowl vacation. Forget all those bowls in Idaho, Detroit and Maryland – this is Hawaii. And it shows, with some teams leaving it all out on the beach. Historically, this has been a dog of a bowl game with six of the last seven blowouts. Making matters worse …

Hawaii has been awful in bowl games for a while. The program has lost its last three bowl games in ugly blowouts. The last three bowls? Georgia, Notre Dame and Tulsa 162, Hawaii 66. Middle Tennessee hasn’t been any better, going 1-4 all-time and losing its last three in ugly blastings. Hope for the best, expect the worst.

Hawaii, please, get past this power outage. Hanging 46 on UMass doesn’t really count – the no-huddle O went into the tank late in the season. Even with Dru Brown emerging, the offense didn’t get a whole lot better as the season went on. With a month off, expect the quirky. It’s going to have to if Middle Tennessee gets its attack rolling.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Hawaii Bowl?

It’ll be tempting to think Hawaii is going to step it up in its home bowl game. New team, new coaches, new attitude, but Hawaii has lost the last two Hawaii bowls it’s been in – 2010 and 2008.

Brent Stockstill is going to do everything possible to give it a go, but the Blue Raider offense will work no matter what. I’Tavius Mathers is one of the best backs you haven’t seen – he ran for 1,504 yards and 16 scores, and caught 62 passes for 589 yards and three touchdowns – and Richie James is a special receiver with 97 grabs for 1,463 yards and 11 scores and four rushing touchdowns.

Middle Tennessee will make this fun.

Final Score

Middle Tennessee 45, Hawaii 27

Line

Middle Tennessee -6, o/u: NA

ATS Confidence: 3
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0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 2.5
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0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The Hawaii Bowl

Hawai’i Bowl History, Results

Dec. 24, 2015 San Diego State 42 Cincinnati 7
Dec. 24, 2013 Oregon State 38 Boise State 23
Dec. 24, 2012 SMU 43 Fresno State 10
Dec. 24, 2011 Southern Miss 24 Nevada 17
Dec. 24, 2010 Tulsa 62 Hawaii 35
Dec. 24, 2009 SMU 45 Nevada 10
Dec. 24, 2008 Notre Dame 49 Hawaii 21
Dec. 23, 2007 East Carolina 41 Boise State 38
Dec. 24, 2006 Hawaii 41 Arizona State 24
Dec. 20, 2005 Nevada 49 UCF 48 (OT)
Dec. 24, 2004 Hawaii 59 UAB 40
Dec. 25, 2003 Hawaii 54 Houston 48 (3 OT)
Dec. 25, 2002 Tulane 36 Hawaii 28

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