BYU vs. Hawaii: SoFi Hawaii Bowl fearless prediction and game preview.
BYU vs. Hawaii: SoFi Hawaii Bowl Broadcast
BYU (7-5) vs. Hawaii (9-5) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The SoFi Hawaii Bowl
– If these two teams play at their highest of levels, this should be an entertaining game with a whole lot of mood swings. Hawaii made a habit of beating big-name teams to kick off the year with wins over Arizona and Oregon State, and rolled through Mountain West teams late in the year on the way to the conference championship game.
BYU beat Boise State but finished the regular season with a loss to a San Diego State team Hawaii beat. These two are close enough talent-wise to make this a fight.
– This is the third time in four years Hawaii has played in the Hawaii Bowl, winning in a blowout over Middle Tennessee in 2016, and getting sacked over and over again in a 31-14 loss to Louisiana Tech last season. This is a big deal for the program with that win over the Blue Raiders the lone bowl victory in the last five tries since 2006.
– BYU has known it was going to this game all year long – if it became eligible – with this the team’s tie-in, and going to Honolulu isn’t a bad prize for a solid season. On a two-game bowl winning streak a win would give the program in ninth post-season victory in the last 13 tries since 2005.
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Why BYU Will Win
– Is there any chance that Zach Wilson can do that again? The sophomore quarterback had a disappointing season with injuries and inconsistencies keeping him from running like he can, and with seven interceptions to go along with 11 touchdown passes. However, he threw for over 200 yards in each of his seven games against FBS teams, but it’s last year’s performance that will be brought up time and again.
All he did in the 49-18 win over Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is completed all 18 of his passes for 317 yards and four scores. No pressure, just be perfect again.
– Can BYU handle a high-octane passing game? To a point. It ha problems with the sharper passers, but the secondary was able to make up for the yards allowed against the stars like Utah State’s Jordan Love and USC’s Kedon Slovis with lots of picks, coming up with three against each of those two.
On the year, the Cougars intercepted 15 throws and held passers to under seven yards per throw. BYU went 5-0 against teams that attempted 30 passes or more. Welcome to Hawaii – it threw 32 passes or more in all 14 games.
– Keeping the chains moving against Hawaii is the second-most important key – along with being able to pick off passes. BYU does both things well. The offense might not be consistent, and it might not do enough to throw a big scare against a decent Hawaii defense, but the offense is great on third downs. BYU isn’t big on time of possession, but Hawaii is. Make the Rainbow Warriors press, and that’s when the pick come.
Why Hawaii Will Win
– Yeah, BYU picks off a whole lot of passes, but it doesn’t generate any pressure whatsoever on the passer. That’s a wee bit by design, but it’s also a problem at times with just 12 sacks on the season against an offense that gets the ball out of the hands of the quarterback in a hurry. Give the Rainbow Warrior passers time to find a second and third option, and uh-oh.
– Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich isn’t afraid to change up the quarterbacks and throw a bit of a curveball here and there by putting the more mobile Chevan Cordeiro in, but this is the game for Cole McDonald to go off. He was hammered in last year’s Hawaii Bowl loss and had the worst game of his career – throwing for 85 yards with a touchdown, two picks, and with his passes going nowhere. Cordeiro didn’t have much luck, either. This year, again, there isn’t the concern of a pass rush to worry about.
– BYU doesn’t have the blasting running game to take advantage of a Hawaii run defense that’s been hit-or-miss. The Rainbow Warriors were able to survive when Oregon State and Army went off, but they couldn’t get into a groove when Fresno State and Air Force got their respective ground attacks going.
BYU doesn’t have a running game, at least against teams that are good. The Cougars aren’t going to average five yards per carry, and it’s going to be up to the passing game to keep up – Hawaii does the passing thing better.