2010 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Preview
At 8:00 p.m. EST on Christmas Eve, Hawaii and Tulsa will square off in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Tulsa finished the 2010 season with a six game winning streak to improve to 9-3 overall. Hawaii went 7-1 in WAC conference play this year and ended the season with a 10-3 record overall. The game will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hawaii will have a big home field advantage despite the fact that the bowl is being played at a “neutral location.”
When Hawaii has the Ball
The Warriors offense has been hotter than a Hawaiian volcano this season. Hawaii was ninth in the nation in scoring offense at 39.9 points per game and first in the country in passing with 387.8 yards per game through the air. Quarterback Bryant Moniz is the key to Hawaii’s pass happy offense. The junior quarterback leads the nation in passing yards with 4629 yards and is tied for first with 36 touchdowns. Moniz two favorite targets are Greg Salas (106 receptions, 1675 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Kealoha Pilares (88 rec., 1306 yards, 15 touchdowns). Salas and Pilares rank first and sixth in the country for receiving yards. Hawaii will run the ball just enough to keep a defense off balance with senior running back Alex Green. Green ran for 1168 yards and 17 touchdowns this year.
Tulsa has had trouble stopping their opponents this year allowing almost 30 points a game. Tulsa’s three losses this year shed some light on what we may see when they face Hawaii on December 24th. Tulsa lost to ECU, Oklahoma State, and SMU this season. In those games Tulsa gave up 383 passing yards and 5 touchdowns to ECU, 574 yards and 8 touchdowns to Oklahoma State, and 381 yards and 3 touchdowns to SMU. Tulsa is going to be chasing around Hawaii receivers all day and will have a difficult time keeping points off the board.
When Tulsa has the Ball
The Golden Hurricane offense has been outstanding this season as well. Tulsa ranks tenth in the nation, one spot behind Hawaii, in scoring offense at 39.7 points per game. Tulsa has a more balanced offense than their Hawaii Bowl opponent. G.J. Kinne, Tulsa’s junior quarterback, is the player to watch for the Golden Hurricane. Kinne threw for 3307 yards this year and 28 touchdowns. With 557 yards rushing Kinne is also the leading rusher on the team. Wide receiver Damaris Johnson is the second leading rusher on the team with 462 yards and leads the team with 771 yards receiving. Johnson also shoulders the kick and punt return duties.
Hawaii’s defense is actually better than you might expect. The Warriors only gave up an average of 22.7 points per game and turned in an especially impressive performance in a win against Nevada. Hawaii held a Nevada offense that averaged 42 points per game to only 21 points. The aggressive Warriors defense picked off more passes than any other team in the country with 23 interceptions.
2010 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Prediction
With two of the best offenses in the country on display the Hawaii Bowl could turn into a track meet. Tulsa and Hawaii both score a ton of points and have multiple weapons on offense. With the support of the hometown crowd Hawaii’s defense should be able to make some big stops down the stretch and possibly force Tulsa to make mistakes. I give the edge to Hawaii because they have two great receivers for Bryant Moniz to throw to, a defense that forces turnovers, and they are playing in their own time zone.
Prediction: Hawaii 45 – Tulsa 31