Watch the 2014 Hawai’i Bowl: Rice vs. Fresno State game time, TV schedule, live online streaming
Some Christmas Eve football with the potential for offensive fireworks.
How do you make a bowl game with a losing record? If you’re Fresno State, you go 6-6 in the regular season, win your division, and fall to Boise State in the conference title game. The Bulldogs will face Rice in the Hawai’i Bowl Wednesday, with two porous defenses facing off in what could be a high-scoring affair.
Fresno State’s season was one of streaks. They opened the season with three straight losses (USC, Utah, Nebraska), followed that up with three straight wins (Southern Utah, New Mexico, San Diego State), followed that up with three straight losses (UNLV, Boise State, Wyoming) and finished with three straight wins (San Jose State, Nevada, Hawaii) to grab bowl eligibility and the divisional crown.
With a loss to Boise State in the conference championship game, that pattern would seem to predict a loss to Rice in the bowl. The Owls also opened the season with three straight losses (Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Old Dominion) but rebounded with six straight victories — none against bowl opponents. Rice grabbed a win over a bowl team later in the year when they defeated UTEP, but finished the season 1-5 against teams .500 or better.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: 8 p.m. ET.
Online streaming: WatchESPN.
Rankings and records: Neither team is ranked. Rice is 7-5 this season, while Fresno State is 6-7. The Bulldogs have won all six matchups between the two schools.
Vegas: Fresno State opened as two-point favorites, but the line has since flipped to 2.5 in favor of Rice. The over/under is 59 points.
Weather forecast: It’s Hawai’i. It’ll be in the 70s, though there is a chance of rain.
Two things at stake
A win for Fresno State would put them at .500 for the season.
A win for Rice would end a setback season (after a 10-win year in 2013) with a nice victory.
One big matchup
Rice passing offense vs. Fresno State passing defense. The Owls struggled on the ground this season but were still able to move the ball in the air. Junior Driphus Jackson averaged 8.2 yards per attempt this season, throwing 21 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Fresno State’s secondary wasn’t always tested in a run-heavy Mountain West Conference, but they gave up 14 touchdowns against zero interceptions in their opening three-game stretch against Power Five opponents.