Although the Hawai’i Bowl isn’t played on Christmas Eve this year, it slides into another appropriate time slot.
Hawai’i and Louisiana Tech square off in the Saturday late-night window at the end of a four-game slate, which is the normal spot for most Hawai’i home games.
Although the game is played in their home stadium, the Warriors have participated in it just twice since 2010.
Louisiana Tech carries a four-game bowl winning streak into Saturday, and a continuation of that run would be a nice finish to the season after losing three of its final four regular-season contests.
It would be wise of you to sneak in a nap at some point Saturday in order to stay up for what is expected to be a pass-heavy Hawai’i Bowl.
Hawai’i is one of seven FBS programs to eclipse 4,000 passing yards, and quarterback Cole McDonald ranks seventh in the nation with 3,790 passing yards.
McDonald has thrown the ball on 30 occasions in every game this season apart from one, and he’s attempted 45 or more passes in three games, including two in November against Utah State and San Diego State.
The sophomore signal-caller has been able to complete plenty of passes for the Warriors, but he may find impressive statistics hard to come by against Louisiana Tech’s 24th-best passing defense that gives up 193.6 passing yards per game.
If Hawai’i is unable to get its passing game going, it will be in for a rough night on home soil since it doesn’t possess a dangerous ground game.
Of the 78 teams participating in bowls, Hawai’i has the fourth-worst rushing attack, with only Michigan State, Stanford and Washington State beneath it.
Sitting four spots ahead of the Warriors in the FBS rushing offense stats is Louisiana Tech at 115th, which is the sixth-worst position of bowl teams.
A Bulldogs running back hit triple digits in rushing yards on two occasions in the regular season, as Jaqwis Dancy accounted for 260 of his 604 yards against South Alabama and Florida Atlantic.
If Louisiana Tech wants to leave Honolulu with a victory, it has to rely on quarterback J’Mar Smith, who threw for 2,875 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Smith averaged 279 yards over his last three regular-season games, but he threw more interceptions than touchdowns during that stretch.
The only way the Bulldogs can keep up with the home side is if they turn those yards into scores for four quarters with a dynamic offense waiting to strike on the other sideline.
Taking Hawai’i and the over is the best bet for Saturday’s nightcap.
Hawai’i’ put up 35 or more points in four of its five home wins, and McDonald will be able to find holes in the Louisiana Tech secondary to add to that total.
The Bulldogs will find a way to put points on the board in stretches, but they won’t be able to do enough to match the production of the home side.