Rainbow Warriors open 2015 season Thursday against Colorado

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HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i football team opens up the 2015 campaign, Thursday, Sept. 3, with a non-conference contest against Colorado at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:04 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network (Oceanic Digital Ch. 247 and HD Ch. 1247; Hawaiian Telcom Digital Ch. 83 and HD Ch. 1083).

This season marks the sixth consecutive year the Rainbow Warriors (0-0) open against an opponent from the Pac-12 Conference. Last season, the Warriors fell 17-16 to No. 25 Washington at home. UH previously opened with USC in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and Colorado in 2011. The Warriors are 3-7 in season openers versus the Pac-12.

UH and Colorado (0-0) have met four previous times with the series tied at 2-2. The teams last met in game four of the 2014 campaign, as the Warriors rallied from a 21-0 halftime deficit and fell short in a 21-12 loss in Boulder, Colo. The series began on Jan. 1, 1925 with a 13-0 UH victory, closing out the 1924 season—that game was also played on a Thursday.

The home team has won each game in the series to date, with the Warriors claiming victory the last meeting in Honolulu after ramping up a 17-0 halftime lead, and holding on to win 34-17.

Game #1
Who: Hawai’i (0-0) vs. Colorado (0-0)
When: Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015
Time: 7:04 p.m.
Where: Honolulu, O’ahu; Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium (50,000)
Television: Live nationally on CBS Sports Network (Oceanic Digital Ch. 247 and HD Ch. 1247; Hawaiian Telcom Digital Ch. 83 and HD Ch. 1083) with Carter Blackburn (play-by-play), Aaron Taylor (analyst) and Jenny Dell (sideline) on the call.
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 5:00 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 www.espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com
Series Information: 5th meeting. Tied 2-2, last meeting was Sept. 20, 2014 in Boulder Colo.

Promotions: Bud Light is the game sponsor and will award a trip for two to San Diego and tickets to the NFL game between the San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears on November 9, during the halftime promotional contest (register at Gate 3). One lucky fan will compete in the “Bud Light Field Goal Kick” promotion for a chance to win a Beats by Dre music pill during pre-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. Also, register at Gate 4 or 6 to win the “Best Seats In the House“, compliments of Papa John’s Pizza Hawaii and NAPA. The Farmers Hawaii Supa Bowzooka will be launching t-shirts into the stands between the first and second quarters.

Game Storylines: This is the season opener for both programs, setting off a grueling 13 consecutive weeks of games with no BYE weeks—the only two programs facing that challenge in 2015…USC Transfer quarterback Max Wittek will make his much-anticipated debut for the Rainbow Warriors…First-year coordinators Don Bailey (offense) andTom Mason (defense) will debut their scheme changes for the first time in live game action…UH assistant head coach and offensive line coach Chris Naeole was three-year starter and All-American at Colorado before a 11-year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars…UH is 29-58 (.333) all-time against current members of the Pac-12, including a 2-2 mark against Colorado…The Rainbow Warriors faced Pac-12 teams in 3-of-5 non-conference games in 2014, dropping all three by a combined score of only 18 points, including the one-point loss in the opener vs. No. 25 Washington at Aloha Stadium…UH won the last meeting with CU in Aloha Stadium (2011) hanging on for a 34-17 victory after going ahead 17-0 at the half…UH has played at least one Pac-12 opponent each year since 2005 with a 5-11 record during that span.

Colorado Connections:
>>>Promoted in the spring to assistant head coach, third-year UH offensive line coach Chris Naeole is not only a Colorado alum (1997), but was also a consensus All-American as a senior in 1996 and a three-year starter for the Buffs, allowing only one sack through the course of his career. He was a two-time first-team all-Big 12 pick and played on four bowl teams, including a starting role on the Fiesta and Cotton Bowl-winning teams.

Following his career in Boulder, Naeole was the 10th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft—at the time making the Ka’a’awa, O’ahu native the highest-selected pick from the islands. Naeole went on to an 11-year professional career with the New Orleans Saints and later Jacksonville Jaguars.

>>>The Hawai’i lineup features a pair of Colorado locals in senior offensive linemen Ben Clarke and Brenden Urban—both hailing from Littleton, Colo., where they were teammates at Chatfield High School.

Neither lineman was recruited by CU and both took very different routes to UH. Clarke was recruited to O’ahu by the previous coaching staff and has played, and started, all four years under coach Norm Chow. Urban first played one season at Adams State before opting to transfer and join Clarke.

Both players started against CU last season in Boulder—Clarke at left tackle and Urban at center—both appear in the two-deep and are expected to play against the Buffaloes on Thursday night.

>>>Junior defensive lineman Kory Rasmussen spent his first year in college on CU’s Boulder campus, transferring to UH before the 2013 season and redshirting under NCAA rules. Transitioning from offensive line, Rasmussen was a scout-teamer last season and didn’t play against Colorado, but is penciled in as the backup at nose tackle in the opener.

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