What’s better than the holiday season? How about football during holiday season. The Hawaii bowl will take place later tonight and it is a best of both worlds’ scenario for football and holiday enthusiasts. BYU will take on Hawaii in this year’s Hawaii Bowl and the sheer fact that there is plenty of football available to watch will have most of us proclaiming “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Hawaii Bowl: BYU vs. Hawaii – 8 p.m. EST, ESPN
There is just something about BYU quarterback Zach Wilson that draws people in. Maybe it is the headband he wears or maybe it is his potential to deliver a big time performance at any moment. To be fair, Wilson’s sophomore year has not been as lights out as some expected, he has just recently returned from surgery on his throwing hand but he has put together a campaign that saw him throw for 2108 yards along with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He will not be a draft eligible prospect this season but he is the orchestrator of the BYU offense.
When it comes to their passing attack, the BYU offense has flowed through tight end Matt Bushman. The junior tight end led the team in receiving yards with 597 and finished second in receptions with 41. Bushman lined up all over the formation and flashed good hands for the position.
Leading the team in receptions was senior wide receiver Micah Simon with 46 receptions. The BYU receiver is a great athlete with some speed and explosiveness though he will likely be a late round pick to undrafted free agent pick up during next year’s draft.
On defense, look for the man in the middle in Khyiris Tonga. The big 6’4, 321-pound defensive lineman is the foundation at the base of BYU’s run defense and recorded four tackles for a loss this season.
Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald is the number one reason to tune into this game. The junior quarterback is going to sling the football all over the field and that is a promise. McDonald put up over 3600-yards passing for the second season in a row while also throwing for 29 touchdowns to 14 interceptions this season. The biggest trait that sticks out when watching the Hawaii quarterback is his ability to throw passes on a rope as he flashes tremendous velocity on his passes. Below shows the kind of arm strength that McDonald possesses.
McDonald’s favorite target has been receiver Cedric Byrd and he is electric. Despite just standing at 5’9, Byrd has been McDonald’s go-to guy as he has put up 1068 receiving yards this season on 95 receptions. Below is one of the many touchdown passes that the duo connected on last season as McDonald puts this one right on the money.
Another small statured received on Hawaii that has been a problem for defenses is JoJo Ward. Like Byrd, Ward also comes in at 5’9 but his size has not deterred him from making big plays. The senior receiver just missed out on 1000-yards, finishing with 975-receiving yards but was able to lead the team with 11 receiving touchdowns.