Tulsa Going to Hawaii Bowl
Tulsa, Oklahoma –– The University or Tulsa has accepted an invitation to play in the 2010 Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, it was announced today by Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl Executive Director David A.K. Matlin. Tulsa will be making its fifth bowl game appearance in the last six years.
Tulsa (9-3, 6-2 C-USA) will play the home team and the nation’s 25th-ranked Hawai’i Warriors (9-3, 7-1 WAC) of the Western Athletic Conference on December 24th at 3:00 pm (HT)/7:00 pm (CT) at Aloha Stadium. Hawaii concludes its season tonight at home in a non-conference game against UNLV. The Warriors have earned at least a share of the WAC title, tying with Boise State and Nevada
“We are excited to be hosting Coach (Todd) Graham and his Golden Hurricane football squad in the 9th Annual SHERATON HAWAI’I BOWL,” Matlin said. “Spending the Christmas season in Hawai’i will be a well-deserved reward for the players, coaches and loyal Tulsa fans.”
The game will feature two of the nation’s most potent offenses. Hawai’i has the nation’s top passing offense with an average of 384.8 yards per game, while ranking 10th in total offense (487.8) and 12th in scoring offense (38.3). Tulsa ranks fifth in total offense (503.5), ninth in scoring (39.6), 15th in rushing offense (219.3) and 16th in passing offense (284.1).
Tickets for the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl can be purchased for $40 online at www.tulsahurricane.com <http://www.tulsahurricane.com> or by calling 918.631.GoTU (4688).
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to go to the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl and play a quality opponent in a 9-3 Hawai’i team,” said Tulsa Head Coach Todd Graham. “Hawai’i is ranked in the top-25 nationally, and for us getting the opportunity to win a Bowl game like this against a top-25 team would be awesome for our program.”
“Hawai’i is a very tough team. They have a tremendous program and some great players. Hawai’i does a great job and have had some big time wins. The location is a very special destination for us and naturally playing such a great team in Hawai’i and having an opportunity to compete for a big win is huge for our program,” said Graham.
Hawaii’s signal-caller, junior Bryant Moniz, a former walk-on, leads the nation in both passing (354.1) and total offense (358.0) and has completed 66.2 percent of his passes with 32 touchdowns. Two of his targets have each gained over 1,000 yards receiving, as senior slot receiver Greg Salas ranks No. 2 nationally in receiving yards per game (131.8). Kealoha Pilares has caught 79 passes for 1,149 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Hawai’i running game does not look like the 110th-ranked rushing team in the nation and that’s because of running back Alex Green. The senior has carried the ball just 118 times for 1,032 yards, an 8.7-yard average and 16 touchdowns for the Warriors this season.
The defensive unit is ranked among the top-3 in all the major statistical categories in the WAC. Junior linebacker Corey Paredes has a team-leading 140 tackles to rank fifth nationally, while senior defensive back Mana Silva has totaled 71 stops and has the second-most interceptions in the nation with seven.
Hawai’i has a defense that allows opponents just 348 yards of total offense and limits the opposition to 22.8 points.
In 12 games, Tulsa has averaged 503 yards of total offense and 39.6 points per game, ranking fifth nationally for offensive yards and ninth in the nation for scoring. The Hurricane has put up 500+ yards in seven games this year, while collecting 40+ points in six contests.
The Hurricane offense is led by junior quarterback G.J. Kinne and the multiple weapons he has at his disposal. Kinne has completed 60-percent of his passes for 3,307 yards and 28 TDs, while also leading the Hurricane in rushing with 557 yards and seven touchdowns.
Junior receiver Damaris Johnson, the nation’s leader in all-purpose yardage, has 771 receiving yards, 462 rushing yards, 795 kick return yards and 274 punt return yards. Senior H-back Charles Clay had caught 41 passes for 488 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns. Johnson and Clay leads eight receivers with 200+ receiving yards.
Defensively, Tulsa ranks among the top-5 nationally with 19 interceptions as sophomore Dexter McCoil and freshman Marco Nelson rank among the top-6 in the nation for interceptions. Junior linebacker Curnelius Arnick has a team-leading 106 tackles, while fellow linebacker Shawn Jackson, another true freshman, had a team-high 12.5 tackles for -56 yards. Senior linebacker Tanner Antle has also made big plays for the Hurricane this season with 79 tackles and 7.5 stops for -20 yards.
The University of Tulsa and Conference USA have partners with the Sheraton Hawai’I Bowl to create a distribution plan for any tickets that fans would like to purchase to donate to military personnel. The tickets Hurricane fans purchase to donate will be distributed within the five military branches to groups located on and around Oahu. You can purchase tickets for the bowl game or to support the tickets for troops campaign by calling 918-631-GoTU (4688) or online at www.tulsahurricane.com<http://www.tulsahurricane.com> . Tickets for purchase or donation are only $40. Tickets for troops purchases are tax deductible and one priority point will be awarded for each pair of tickets purchased for donation. Conference USA will match all tickets purchased by Hurricane fans for the “Tickets for Troops” campaign.
This is the 17th bowl game appearance for the Hurricane and the fifth time in the last six years. The last four bowl appearances have come in the 2005 Liberty Bowl, 2006 Armed Forces Bowl, 2008 GMAC Bowl (after 2007 season) and 2009 GMAC Bowl (after 2008 season).
TODD GRAHAM QUOTES:
ON MAKING A BOWL GAME…
“Making a bowl game each year is really the minimum to keep moving your program forward. Having these extra practices is big for us, and it’s a big reward for these kids to get an opportunity to go to a bowl game and compete for a bowl championship.”
“We’re very, very excited. This team has had a great season. We faced some adversity early on and were able to overcome that, had one of the biggest wins in school history over Notre Dame and went on a six-game winning streak at the end. Being 9-3 and getting the opportunity to compete in bowl game is huge for our program.”
ON THE HAWAII BOWL…
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to go to the Sheraton Hawai’I Bowl and play a quality opponent in a 9-3 Hawai’i team. Hawai’i is ranked in the top-25 nationally, and for us getting the opportunity to win a Bowl game like this against a top-25 team would be awesome for our program.”
“Hawai’i is a very tough team. They have a tremendous program and some great players. Hawai’i does a great job and have had some big time wins. The location is a very special destination for us and naturally playing such a great team in Hawai’i and having an opportunity to compete for a big win is huge for our program.”
“We’ve played well on the road this season. In Hawai’i, the key is staying focused on the game and that’s pretty difficult to do. We’ll have to be focused on football, yet enjoy the reward of going to a bowl game, especially going to an unbelievable place like Hawai’i. We’ll have to be prepared and ready to play. We have to go and play stellar on the road. It’s a very hostile environment. We played there before in 2004, and it’s a very tough and difficult place to play. Our guys have played in some pretty tough places, and hopefully it’s prepared them for it.”