Middle Tennessee headed to Hawaii Bowl

MTSU Middle Tennessee State University
(Photo: WKRN)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders are packing the sunscreen once again after accepting an invitation to play Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24.

Last year, the Blue Raiders also headed to an exotic destination losing to Western Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl.

MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill, who led the team to an 8-4 finish, is excited for his team once again.

“It’s a tremendous reward for this team with the adversity this team has faced all year. I told them that if you’re practicing in December then that’s a good thing. This team had a great year with what this team has gone through and accomplished. It’s a great reward for this football team.”

The Blue Raiders face a Hawaii team that went 6-7 on its home field. Stockstill admits that it’s unique.

“We are the home team. We’re going to dress in their locker room, we’re going to practice in their stadium, but they get to stay at home and practice in their practice facility. It will be different from that standpoint, but at the same time, it is a bowl game for them too, so there will be functions they will participate in like us.”

The Dec. 24th game date is also later than MTSU’s other bowl tie-ins, giving quarterback Brent Stockstill another week to recover from a broken collar bone.

The young QB is still hoping to play.

“I think wherever we were going to go, I was going to try to do everything I could to get back, and this gives me an extra week,” explained Stockstill. “We’ll keep checking with the doctors. I’m going to do everything I can to try to get out there and play with the guys.”

Hawaii is paradise, though and sophomore Richie James knows what he’s looking forward to most.

“The beach, definitely. Not a lot of people get this opportunity. We’re a lot of 20-year-olds going to Hawaii, so it’s going to be a great experience.”