The University of Hawai‘i Rainbow Warrior football team and Louisiana Tech (Conference USA) will meet in the 2018 Hawai‘i Bowl.
The 'Bows (8-5) and the Bulldogs (7-5) will play on Saturday, Dec. 22 at Aloha Stadium. Kick-off is set for 5:30 p.m. HST.
UH and LA Tech are former Western Athletic Conference rivals, where they played every year from 2003-11. The 'Bows lead the series 8-2, including a 44-26 victory during the team's last meeting in Ruston, La. in 2011.
“We’re extremely proud to represent our university in the Hawai‘i Bowl,” head coach Nick Rolovich said. “We’re also very excited to rekindle some old WAC battles against a very talented Louisiana Tech team on December 22. It could very well be one of the more exciting games of the bowl season.”
UH finished the regular season with a huge 31-30 road win over San Diego State on Nov. 24. It is the first time since 2010 that UH finished with a winning record.
“On behalf of the Hawai‘i Bowl Executive Committee, I’m proud to announce this thrilling match-up between Louisiana Tech University and the University of Hawai‘i and congratulate both teams on successful seasons,” Hawai‘i Bowl Executive Director Daryl Garvin said. “What better location to end a football season than the beautiful and scenic island of O‘ahu.”
Rolovich led the 'Bows to a five-win improvement from last season's 3-9 finish. The 'Bows finished second place in the Mountain West Conference's West Division.
This will be the 'Bows eighth all-time Hawai‘i Bowl appearance and second in the last three seasons. In 2016, the 'Bows beat Middle Tennessee 52-35 during Rolovich’s first season as head coach.
“The University of Hawai‘i is honored to be participating in the 2018 Hawai‘i Bowl,” UH Athletics Director David Matlin said. “This is a special holiday tradition and an amazing experience for our student-athletes who continue to inspire our state. This game gives us one last chance to thank our fans for all the support they’ve given us throughout the season and a great send-off for our senior class.”
Louisiana Tech will appear in the Hawai‘i Bowl for the first time and make its 11th Bowl appearance overall.
“I have been to the Hawai‘i Bowl before and it is an unbelievable bowl experience that is second to none as far as the culture, the destination and the people involved are concerned. The beauty and uniqueness of the Hawai‘i Bowl is what makes this bowl so special," Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz said.
Holtz led Louisiana Tech to five straight winning seasons. This season, the Bulldogs were tied for runner-up in C-USA’s West Division.
Louisiana Tech features the nation’s top sack leader Jaylon Ferguson (15), who is also No. 2 in tackles-for-loss (23.5).
The 'Bows are led by sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald (3,790 yards, 35 TDs) and junior wide receiver John Ursua (1,343 yards, 16 TDs).
Ursua was also named to the all-Mountain West first team, while McDonald was an honorable mention.
Conference USA teams have appeared in the Hawai‘i Bowl 11 times with a 7-4 record. Mountain West teams have appeared in every Hawai‘i Bowl since 2012, and have won the last three.