‘Bows vs. Huskies will mark as homecoming, reunion for UH’s Taz Stevenson

Taz Stevenson

The University of Hawaii football team’s season opener on Saturday against 25th-ranked University of Washington at Aloha Stadium will mark as both a homecoming and a reunion for defensive back Taz Stevenson.

The 2010 Mililani graduate and four-year member of the Washington Huskies transferred back home to UH as a walk-on this summer. Despite having joined the Rainbow Warriors just in time for training camp, No. 33 has earned the starting nod at strong safety and, on Monday, was awarded a scholarship by head coach Norm Chow.

“It’s really special. I mean I’ve always watched these guys since I was younger and growing up thinking about coming here. But you know, I told myself I wanted to get different experiences and get away, and now that I finally got the opportunity to come back and play, it’s a big thing for me. It’s a dream for me to be able to play for the University of Hawaii, but it doesn’t matter who we play or who’s on the schedule, we’re just here to play ball and that’s it,” said Stevenson.

Taz and his Rainbow Warriors kick off 2014 against the Huskies on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Game #1
Who: Hawai’i (0-0) vs. #25 (AP)/#25 (Coaches) Washington (0-0)
When: Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Where: Honolulu, HI; Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium (50,000)
Television: Live nationally on CBS Sports Network (Oceanic Digital Ch. 247 and HD Ch. 1247) with Carter Blackburn (play-by-play), Aaron Taylor (color) and Jamie Erdahl (sidelines).
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM will carry the game live with Bobby Curran (play-by-play), John Veneri (analyst), and Felipe Ojastro (sideline). Chris Hart and Gary Dickman host the “Countdown To Kickoff” beginning at 2:30 p.m., 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.
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at http://www.HawaiiAthletics.com
Series Information: 5th meeting. Tied 2-2.

Promotions: Bud Light is the game sponsor and will award more than $400 in Bud Light prizes throughout the game (register at Gate 3). A UH student will compete in the “Bud Light Quarterback Challenge” for the chance to win a Vacations Hawaii Trip to Las Vegas during the first timeout of the fourth quarter (register at Gate 7). The Farmers Hawaii Supa Bowzooka will be launching T-shirts into the stands between the first and second quarters. One fan will compete in the “Outrigger Resorts Kick for Key” promotion during the first timeout of the third quarter, with the chance to win a one-night stay at an Outrigger property (register at Gate 2). Fans are encouraged to visit the Xtreme Fun Zone before the game in the parking lot across from the stadium ticket office. Also, register at Gate 4 or 6 to win the “Best Seats In the House,” compliments of Papa John’s Pizza Hawaii and NAPA.

Game Storylines: Hawai’i holds a 58-34-5 (.624)?all-time record in season openers and 63-29-5 (.675) in home openers. UH is 3-6 in season openers against Pac-12 teams…UH is 29-55 all-time vs. current members of the Pac-12 conference, including a 2-2 mark against Washington…UH has played at least one Pac-12 opponent each year since 2005 with a 5-8 record during that span. This season, the Rainbow Warriors will play three Pac-12 teams during the regular season, the most in a single season in school history…UH owns a 10-37 all-time record against nationally ranked teams including a 9-23 mark at Aloha Stadium…This season marks the third consecutive year that UH will open the season against a nationally ranked team (vs. #1 USC in 2012 and vs. #24 USC in 2013). UH has opened its season against a nationally-ranked team nine times all-time with a 1-8 record…Two of UH’s biggest wins in school history have come against UW. In 1973, as 50-point underdogs, UH upset UW, 10-7 in Seattle. In the 2007 regular season finale, UH capped a 12-0 season with a 35-28 win in Honolulu.

SERIES HISTORY: Two of UH’s biggest wins in school history have come against the Huskies. In the 1973 season opener, as 50-point underdogs, the then-Division II Rainbows upset UW, 10-7 in Seattle. Harold Stringert intercepted three passes and Levi Stanley had 11 tackles…In the 2007 regular season finale at Aloha Stadium, UH rallied to defeat the Huskies 35-28 to cap a 12-0 season and secure a berth in the Allstate Sugar Bowl…In the teams’ last meeting in 2011, UH rallied from a 21-point first quarter deficit but the Huskies held off the Warriors, 40-32…The series began in 1938.

UH safety Taz Stevenson, of Mililani, O’ahu, appeared in 34 career games for the Huskies from 2010-12 as a key special team’s performer and backup safety. He did not play in 2013 due to a season-long injury. Stevenson is penciled in to start at safety this week. UH running backs coach Wayne Moses coached at Washington from 1997-2000, including the Huskies’ 2001 Rose Bowl victory over Purdue. Moses was a four-year letterman at UW. He started at cornerback for two seasons, helping the squad to a Pac-8 title, a Rose Bowl win, and a No. 10 ranking in the final Associated Press poll as a senior.

UH Band Performance:
Hawaiian Artist/Singer and Former Football Player Henry Kapono will be singing the National Anthem and Hawai’i Pono’i. Halftime: The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior Marching Band is proud to pay tribute to the King of Rock ‘n Roll ELVIS!!!! WE celebrate with his favorites: Can’t Help Falling in Love, Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Love Me Tender, Burning Love and CC Rider. We also celebrate and honor AARP in a Celebration of Seniors.

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