2016 Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs Middle Tennessee State
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will take on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders on Christmas Eve in the 15th annual Hawaii Bowl.
MTSU benefits from Stockstill return in 2016 Hawaii Bowl
This year’s game features a common bowl occurrence: an injured, standout player returns to the field. That’s the case for Middle Tennessee State, who will see the return of Brent Stockstill to the field.
Stockstill threw for 2,801 yards this season, good for 27 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He also lead the team to a road win over the SEC’s Missouri Tigers.
After leading the Blue Raiders to a 6-2 record in their first eight games, Stockstill suffered a broken collarbone during the second quarter of the UTSA game.
MTSU lost to UTSA and dropped its next game against Marshall, who finished its season 3-9. The loss to the Heard showed just how big of a part Stockstill played in the team’s 6-2 start.
As for Hawaii, the Rainbow Warriors almost did not make it to a bowl game. Fortunately for them, they had 13 games (as opposed to a 12-game schedule most D-1 teams play) on the schedule. The team was able to eke out 14-13 and 46-40 wins against Fresno State and Massachusetts, respectively, to earn their spot.
The impact quarterback theme is present with Hawaii as well. Sophomore, Dru Brown, has taken the reigns for the team this season, throwing for 2,214 yards and 15 touchdowns. A large portion of those yards, 1,036 to be exact, have gone to senior wide receiver Marcus Kemp.
Hawaii will need both of them to show up in what is expected to be a shootout of a game. The defense that MTSU will face gives up 37.5 points per game, while MTSU was one of the best offenses in Conference USA.
All of the action can be seen on ESPN on December 24, at 8:00 p.m. ET. MTSU is favored by seven.