The University of Hawai'i football team and the Cal Bears kickoff the 2016 college football season at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. The game is slated for noon on Saturday, Aug. 27 and will be televised live nationally on ESPN on Friday, Aug. 26 at 4:00 p.m. HT.
It's a historic trip for the Rainbow Warriors who play outside the United States for the first time in school history. It will be the first collegiate football game played in Australia in nearly three decades and the first-ever in the city of Sydney.
Nick Rolovich will make his debut as head coach for the Rainbow Warriors, who are coming off a 3-10 campaign in 2015. Rolovich was a record-breaking quarterback at UH and also a former assistant coach and offensive coordinator (2008-11). He most recently served as the offensive coordinator at Nevada (2012-15)
The game marks the seventh straight year that UH opens the season with a Pac-12 opponent. UH and Cal have met four previous times and the series is tied 2-2.
What: 2016 College Football Sydney Cup
Who: Hawai'i (0-0) vs. Cal (0-0)
When: Friday, Aug. 26, 2016
Time: 4:00 p.m. HT
Where: Sydney, Australia; ANZ Stadium (80,000)
Television: Live nationally on on ESPN with Allen Bestwick (play-by-play), Mike Bellotti (color) and Warren Smith (sidelines).
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM will carry the game live with Bobby Curran (play-by-play) and John Veneri (analyst). Chris Hart and Gary Dickman host the "Countdown To Kickoff" beginning at 2:00 p.m. HT, and also the halftime show. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, KTOH on Kaua'i, and KNWJ in Pago Pago, American Samoa. In addition, the game is available on satellite radio on XM 203 and Sirius 93.
Live Audio: ESPN1420am.com
Live Video: WatchESPN
Live Stats: cal.statbroadcast.com
Series Information: 5th meeting. Tied 2-2. UH won the last meeting, 21-7, in Berkeley in 1994. This will be the first meeting on a neutral site between the teams.
Game Storylines: The season opener for both programs and the first collegiate football game played on foreign soil for the UH football team…first-ever collegiate football game in Sydney…Two previous college football games have been played in Melbourne, Australia – Wyoming versus UTEP in 1985 and BYU versus Colorado State in 1987…Head coaching debut for former Rainbow Warrior quarterback and offensive coordinator/QB coach Nick Rolovich…the seventh straight year that UH opens the season versus a Pac-12 squad…the Rainbow Warriors are 2-4 in the previous six openers…UH has played at least one Pac-12 opponent each year since 2005 with a 6-11 record during that span…just the fourth neutral site game in program history and the first since the 2008 All State Sugar Bowl when UH fell to No. 4 Georgia, 41-10, at the Superdome in New Orleans, La…no less than a half dozen Australians have suited up for the Rainbow Warrior football team and this year's squad includes one more in Sydney native Max Hendrie, a 6-4, 235-pound, freshman defensive lineman.
>>> While UH has a number of Bay Area players, three are specifically East Bay products near Berkeley and all project to start versus Cal -- senior quarterback Ikaika Woolsey (Rodeo; Salesian HS), senior cornerback Jamal Mayo (Oakland; Skyline HS) and junior defensive end David Manoa (Hayward). Wide receivers coach Kefense Hynson is also an Oakland native.
>>> Freshman wide receiver Kumoku Noa's older brother Kanawai is a sophomore wide receiver at Cal. Kumoku was a first-team all-state receiver at Kamehameha in 2015, while Kanawai was a two-time all-state receiver for Punahou before appearing in all 13 games for Cal in 2015 as a true freshman at receiver and on special teams.
>>>Sonny Dykes is a familiar face to UH, having previously served as the head coach of former WAC rival Louisiana Tech (2010-12). Dykes went 0-2 against the Rainbow Warriors. Nick Rolovich served as the UH offensive coordinator during those meetings in 2010 and '11.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie
Several Australians have played college football for Hawai'i:
>>>Defensive tackle Colin Scotts (1983-85) was the first Australian to receive an American football scholarship and first Australian drafted in the National Football League (St. Louis Cardinals, 3rd Round).
>>>Former Australian Rules Football player Scott Harding (2011-14) was one of the most versatile players in all of college football, serving as the team's starting punter, punt returner and receiver. He earned 2nd All-America honors as a punter by the FWAA in 2014.
>>>UH also boasts another pair of standout Aussie punters in Mat McBriar (2000-02) and Alex Dunnachie (2009-12). McBriar enjoyed a successful 11-year career in the NFL with two Pro Bowl appearances as a Dallas Cowboy. Dunnachie was an honorable mention All-American in 2012.
>>>Other Aussie lettermen include a trio of offensive linemen in Paul Manera (1989-91), Adrian Thomas (2007-10) and Blake Muir (2012).
Defensive lineman Paul Sironen spent at year UH (1983) but did not letter.
Nick Rolovich is one 18 head coaches in the FBS who've returned to lead their alma mater. Joined by Brian Smith (offensive coordinator/RB), Craig Stuzmann (QB) and Abe Elimimian (secondary), UH boasts four former players on its full-time coaching staff Only three other schools — BYU (9), Air Force (7), and Boise State (5) — have more alumni on their staff. What's more, all four were teammates on the 2001 squad that finished the season 9-3. Rolovich (QB), Smith (C), and Stutzmann (WR) were senior starters on offense, while Elimimian was a redshirt freshman who started six games at cornerback.
UH will make the move from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense this year under new defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa. Of course "new" is a relative term for Lempa who is in his second stint as defensive coordinator for the Rainbow Warriors. His first run from 2000-02 was hugely successful with an aggressive style that created havoc for opponents. The 2001 squad won nine games and led the nation with 21 fumble recoveries (in addition to 14 interceptions). The 2002 team, which won 10 games, posted 25 turnovers and set a school record for defensive scoring (32), including four pick-sixes.
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