Published: Tue, December 27, 2016
National | By Miranda Cannon

Richie James leads Blue Raiders into Hawaii Bowl vs Hawaii


The Warriors, who wouldn't have qualified for a bowl game if enough teams had finished with 6-6 records, got in by dint of a win in their regular-season finale against MA.

In this one, Hawaii put up 502 yards of offense, including 170 yards from running back Diocemy Saint Juste.

Meanwhile, the Warrior defense played a key role in the win, forcing three turnovers that led to 21 UH points.

"That's been kind of a trend this year where we start off slow, but after those two scores we all came together on the sideline and said, 'Enough is enough, let's go, '" Hawaii defensive lineman Kory Rasmussen said. James finished 7th in FBS play in receiving yards (1,463), and has 15 total touchdowns.

QB QUESTIONS: Stockstill's son, Brent, has completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,801 yards with 27 touchdowns and five interceptions but suffered a broken collarbone in a 45-25 loss to UTSA in early November and missed the Blue Raiders' last three games.

The fake punt was one of two called in the game by first-year coach Nick Rolovich.

"I played awful in first half and put us in a deep hole". Stockstill will have his fair choice of playmakers in an offense that ranks 12th in FBS play in total yards (6,188).

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"They have, by far, one of the fastest tempo offenses that we'll face this year", said Hawaii sophomore linebacker Jahlani Tavai, who has made a team-leading 118 tackles this season.

Hawaii snapper Noah Borden snapped the ball over the head of punter Rigoberto Sanchez, and the snap flew to receiver Makoa Camanse-Stevens.

The Hawaii defense came up big again when Jalen Rogers picked off Stockstill at the MTSU 45 yard line. The Rainbow Warriors scored six plays later.

Hawaii quarterback Dru Brown, left, is presented with the Mountain West Conference Most Valuable Player award by Hugh Yoshida, former Hawaii athletic director, after the Hawaii Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Honolulu. James is 12 catches away from breaking his own 2015 record for receptions in a single-season.

Hawaii took a 35-21 lead into halftime. The Rainbow Warriors are 5-5 in 10 previous bowl appearances, including a 3-3 mark in the Hawaii Bowl.

The win gives Rolovich seven wins in his first season with the program. Camanse-Stevens and Sanchez sold the pretty well, confusing Middle Tennessee State enough to be able to pull off this wonderful pass play.

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