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Best Clips, Moments From BYU’s Rivalry Against Hawaii

Brian McKenzie makes a long run. Hawaii at BYU football Oct. 18, 1997. (RAVELL CALL, Deseret News)

BYU leaves for Honolulu on Friday as they get ready to take on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve. It’s the first time in this series that both programs have met against one another in a bowl game.

As BYU prepares to take on the Rainbow Warriors again on the gridiron, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at the memorable highlights and moments from the BYU-Hawaii rivalry. There has been a lot of great moments from this series over the years.

1984: Kyle Morrell’s leap saves the National Championship

BYU football was undefeated and ranked number six in the country when they traveled to Aloha Stadium in the first month of the regular season. Linebacker Kyle Morrell timed his leap perfectly to prevent Hawaii from building on their 13-12 lead. BYU’s Robbie Bosco then led the Cougars to a game-winning scoring drive to keep the Cougars National Championship season intact.

1990: Hawaii crushes BYU on Detmer’s Heisman night

After receiving the Heisman Trophy, Ty Detmer and the No. 4 BYU Cougars were thumped in Aloha Stadium for the second consecutive season.

1992: Emotions of the BYU-Hawaii rivalry get the most of a Cougar Tight End

BYU tight end Byron Rex stepped out of character and had a few choice words for Hawaii fans after scoring a touchdown. Rex later apologized to UH fans on a Hawaiian radio station.

1996: Mark Atuaia scores in front of his hometown fans

Mark Atuaia was one of the most coveted recruits to come from the state of Hawaii in the history of the islands when he signed with BYU in 1991. Atuaia turned down the home state team to sign with the Cougars. With BYU’s deep and talented 1996 team, Atuaia got a touchdown against the home team.

2001: BYU gives up 72 points in regular-season finale

Days after the Bowl Championship Series ruled undefeated BYU out of a potential BCS game, Hawaii quarterback Nick Rolovich and wide receivers Chad Owens and Ashley Lelie led the Rainbow Warriors to a historic rout. Hawaii crushed BYU to the tune of 72-45, ending the Cougars undefeated season.

2011: BYU’s return to the islands highlighted by great catch from Cody Hoffman

BYU’s first season as an FBS Independent saw the Cougars return to the islands for another regular-season finale. This time it wasn’t like 1990 or 2001, the Cougars rolled to a 41-20 victory. The play of the game was quarterback Riley Nelson connecting with wide receiver Cody Hoffman who made a one-handed grab.

2012: Taysom Hill’s first start & Norm Chow’s first game in Provo as a head coach

When longtime BYU offensive coordinator Norm Chow left Provo in 1999, he had gone up against the Cougars when he was an offensive coordinator at USC, UCLA, and Utah. But never as a head coach, until 2012. Chow was in his first-year as head coach at Hawaii, but he ran into a buzz saw going up against BYU’s offense that featured Taysom Hill at quarterback. Hill’s first start came in 2012 against Hawaii and he led BYU to a dominating 47-0 win.

2018: Zach Wilson’s first career start

Head Coach Kalani Sitake benched senior Tanner Mangum in favor of true freshman quarterback Zach Wilson. Wilson’s first start came against the Rainbow Warriors and it was an impressive debut. BYU’s offense put up 49 points on a Hawaii team that was 6-1 entering Provo. Wilson had 194 passing yards in the win.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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