Photo via MTSU Athletic Communications
Where: Aloha Stadium; Honolulu, Hawaii
When: December 24; 8PM EST
The Hawaii Bowl is always a fun game to watch. It’s an exciting trip for the teams and it’s the center of attention for college football fans as it’s the only college football action this weekend.
Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses, but, I believe Middle Tennessee has the upper hand due to some glaring holes in Hawaii’s game.
Thoughts on Hawaii:
Hawaii has an automatic edge because of their home field advantage. They’re on their home turf, in a bowl centered around their home state, and their fans will certainly outnumber the MTSU fans.
With a win, the Rainbow Warriors would secure their best season since 2010.
Hawaii’s wide receiver Markus Kemp leads the Rainbow Warriors in receiving yards at 1,036, and will prove to be an important target in tomorrow’s game.
Dru Brown has been pretty consistent at quarterback the last couple games. if he comes out, replicates that success, and has a breakout game, Hawaii might have a fighting chance.
If Hawaii comes out of Saturday with a loss, it will likely be their defense that cost them the game. This season, they’ve allowed no less than 240 rushing yards in a single game, and opposing quarterbacks have a 63% completion rate on passes. Unless Brown has an outstanding day, the Blue Raiders will come out on top.
Thoughts on Middle Tennessee:
Middle Tennessee is likely to win this game because Hawaii’s defense will be running into one of the most high powered offenses in all of college football. MTSU is a seriously high-scoring team, which was evident when the Blue Raiders played what looked like a college basketball game when they beat FAU 77-56.
If Brent Stockstill has recovered from his broken collarbone, this game has an obvious conclusion. At quarterback, Stockstill accumulated 2,801 yards in just 9 games, and would have had a historic season had he not been injured. But, if Stockstill isn’t ready to go, the Blue Raiders have a strong plan B.
Assuming Stockstill doesn’t play, John Urzua should be up to the task (as long as his injury sustained last game doesn’t flare up). After he was injured, receivers and running backs on MTSU had to act as quarterbacks–a not so optimal outcome in the upcoming game.
MTSU has a dynamic, high powered offense, that can hurt you in the air or on the ground. I’Tavius Mathers ran for 1,504 yards and 16 touchdowns this season; he also had 589 yards receiving yards. Wide receiver Richie James recorded 1,463 yards on 97 receptions, while also racking up 300 rushing yards.
Stockstill will play a big part in the outcome of this game, but I think there’s no doubt the Blue Raiders will come out on top. All Stockstill will do is increase the margin of victory. If he can’t play, MTSU will scramble to find its rhythm, but still come out on top. Final prediction: Middle Tennessee 38, Hawaii 17.