HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warriors are bowl bound — UH accepted an invitation to play in the New Mexico Bowl on Christmas Eve.
The first season under new head coach Todd Graham isn’t over just yet as the Warriors will face off against Houston in the 2020 addition of the New Mexico Bowl, a chance for his team to experience a bowl game outside of the islands — this marks the third mainland bowl game in program history.
“Were excited for the opportunity for our guys to go compete to be a bowl champion, so it’s a great deal for our program and very very honored to be selected.” Coach Graham told reporters. “To Experience the bowl game experience, the opportunity to play a plus one game in the post season and for our players the memories, some of these kids might not have another chance to do that, just a chance and the opportunity to go play in a bowl game and to compete against a great opponent is such a great blessing and opportunity and it’s really something, i’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t even thinking about.”
The ‘Bows finished 4-4 on the season, making them bowl eligible, but the idea of being invited to one was not on the mind of coach Graham and his team, until a surprise announcement during team pictures on Sunday.
“We were actually taking team pictures and (Athletic Director) Dave Matlin came out and it got down to the last snap, so he came down in front and said okay were going to take one more picture and everybody say “bowl game.” Coach Graham said. “We kind of looked around and and he announced that were accepting a bid to go to the New Mexico Bowl in Frisco Texas so our guys were excited.”
Due to health and safety restrictions in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the game will take place in Frisco, Texas, a homecoming for Graham, who grew up in that area of the lone star state.
“I’m a proud Texan, and proud of where I come from and especially my home town, you know I talk about mesquite, Texas a lot, a place that i’m very proud to be from and it instilled the values in me from coaches that poured it into me.” Coach Graham said. “It made me want to do what i’m doing for the rest of my life and so it’ll be special for me to go back.”
The last time The Rainbow Warriors went head to head with Houston was back in the 2003 Hawaii Bowl, which ended in a massive brawl between the two teams.
This year’s meeting between the two UH’s is set to kick off at 10:30 a.m. Hawaii time on December 24. It will be available to watch on ESPN.