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2008-2009
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Hawai'i Bowl
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HAWAI'I BOWL
Hawai'i Bowl History
Hawaii Hawaii (7-6)
Schedule/Results / Bowl History
Notre Dame Notre Dame (6-6)
Schedule/Results / Bowl History
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: Wednesday, December 24
Time: 8:00 pm EST
TV: ESPN

Game Preview

by Mike Mitchell

Notre Dame will try to put a halt to the longest current bowl game losing streak when it visits homestanding Hawaii in the Hawai'i Bowl.

Notre Dame's Last 9 Bowl Games
Season Bowl Opponent Score W/L
1994 Fiesta Colorado 21-41 L
1995 Orange Florida State 26-31 L
1997 Independence LSU 9-27 L
1998 Gator Georgia Tech 28-35 L
2000 Fiesta Oregon State 9-41 L
2002 Gator N.C. State 6-28 L
2004 Insight Oregon State 21-38 L
2005 Fiesta Ohio State 20-34 L
2006 Sugar LSU 14-41 L
2008 Hawai'i Hawaii ? ?

This is Notre Dame's first bowl trip to Hawaii since losing to SMU in the 1984 Aloha Bowl in its' only other bowl visit.

The Irish and Warriors have met twice previously, both in Hawaii. The Irish eked out regular season wins of 23-22 in 1997, and 48-42 in 1991.

While many considered Notre Dame's 6-6 season a disappointment, the preseason computer projections based on the Congrove Computer Rankings had Notre Dame going 4-8 this season. But expectations are always high for the Fighting Irish, even when they are unrealistic. The Notre Dame faithful were so distraught over a .500 campaign that Charlie Weis nearly lost his job as head coach after four seasons.

The fact is, Notre Dame improved tremendously. The Irish outscored its' opponents a cumulative 272-267 after being outscored 197-345 a year ago. Losses to North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Syracuse were by five points or less, though home losses to the Orange (3-9) and Purdue (4-8) were inexplicable.

The question now is, can Notre Dame rescue the season with a bowl win for a 7-6 finish? Beating Hawaii won't be easy.

The Warriors came up one victory short of the computer's expectations when they were blown out 30-14 at Utah State (3-9). Otherwise, Hawaii did well under first-year head coach Greg McMackin, the defensive coordinator under former head coach June Jones.

Hawaii fell well short of recent teams that scored 564 points last year, and a then-record 656 in 2006. Indeed, the Warriors only managed 314 points, but no sane person expected Hawaii to match the 2007 numbers put up by QB Colt Brennan and receivers Ryan Grice-Mullen, Jason Rivers, and Davone Bess. Brennan was 4th in the nation in yards passing, and all three receivers ranked in the top 13. C.J. Hawthorne was fourth on the team last year with 859 yards. This year, Greg Salas led the team with 755.

Hawaii surrendered 353 points with a huge chunk of those coming on road trips to Florida (56) and Oregon State (45) in the first three weeks of the season.

McMackin has settled on Greg Alexander as the QB (131-of-206 for 1,634 yards, 12 TD's and 4 INT's). Including Salas, he has four receivers with at least 31 catches.

Don't expect much from a running game that ranks 108th and is led by Daniel Libre's 431 yards.

Every skill position leader on Notre Dame's offense is an underclassmen. Sophomore QB Jimmy Clausen was 246-of-414 for 2,771 yards, 20 TD's and 17 INT's. The leading receivers are sophomore Golden Tate (52 catches for 903 yards and 7 TD's), and freshman Michael Floyd (46 for 702 yards and 7 TD's).

Notre Dame's running game ranks 99th nationally, led by sophomore Armando Allen, Jr's 576 yards and 3 scores.

The Hawai'i Bowl will be televised on Christmas Eve by ESPN, beginning at 8 eastern.





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