HONOLULU — The University of Hawai‘i football team accepted an invitation to play in the 2020 New Mexico Bowl and will face the Houston Cougars of American Athletic Conference.
Due to current regulations in New Mexico, the game will be played in Frisco, Texas this year.
The game is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 24, and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Kick-off is 3:30 p.m. EST/10:30 a.m. HST at Toyota Stadium. Toyota Stadium is the home of Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas and the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) championship game, among other events.
The Rainbow Warriors (4-4) will make just their third-ever trip to a mainland bowl and first since the 2008 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Meanwhile, Hawai‘i will face Houston for the second time in the post-season. UH outlasted Houston 54-48 in triple-overtime in the 2003 Hawai‘i Bowl.
“We’re extremely happy for student-athletes, coaches and staff for this special and rare opportunity for a mainland bowl game,” UH Athletic Director David Matlin said.
“We’d like to thank ESPN for helping to make this happen, as well as Hawaiian Airlines for once again stepping up with transporting our team. They’ve been absolutely vital for us all season.”
The Rainbow Warriors have earned a bowl bid in four of the last five years, including each of the last three seasons. The last time UH made three straight bowl apperances was following the 2006, ’07 and ’08 seasons.
Overall, this marks UH’s 14th bowl appearance. UH is 1-1 in mainland bowl games, with a win in the 1992 Holiday Bowl (27-17, Illinois) and a loss in the 2008 Sugar Bowl (41-10, Georgia).
It’s UH’s first bowl game under Head Coach Todd Graham, who took over the reins of the Warriors this past January. The game will serve as a homecoming of sorts for Graham, who is from nearby Mesquite, Texas.
“I am so excited for our team and staff,” Graham said. “They’ve worked hard throughout this entire season, under such challenging circumstances. This game is a great chance to showcase our team to the people of Texas and to a national television audience. Houston is a fine program and we can’t wait to compete against them on Christmas Eve. Go ‘Bows!”
Graham will coach in his 10th bowl game in his 13th season as a Football Bowl Subdivision head coach. He has directed all five of his programs to bowl appearances, and sports a 5-4 bowl record.
Houston gained its invitation after playing seven games in its abbreviated 2020 season. The Cougars went 3-4, with wins over Tulane, Navy and South Florida. Two of the team’s four losses came against nationally-ranked squads Cincinnati and BYU. Houston concluded its regular-season Saturday with a 30-27 loss to Memphis.