The buzz: Rice and Fresno State are both making their second trips to Hawaii this season. The trek to Honolulu is tough during the regular season, so the NCAA allows teams to play 13 games any time they schedule the Warriors, which explains how the Bulldogs enter the bowl with a 6-7 record. Fresno State is working to snap a five-game bowl losing streak and claim its first postseason win since 2007. Quarterback Brian Burrell leads the Fresno State offense, recording 2,576 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, while tailback Marteze Waller has added 1,292 yards and 11 touchdowns. The team has struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone, ranking No. 101 nationally out of 125 teams in points allowed per game (32.6). Rice used a six-game midseason win streak to clinch bowl eligibility. After a tough stretch from 1961 to 2006, the Owls have made regular bowl appearances. The team has won two of its past three bowl games. While it's not flashy on either side of the ball, Rice's roster is full of players like defensive lineman Brian Nordstrom. He is a former walk-on majoring in civil engineering who earned first team All-Conference USA honors this season. Nordstrom enters the bowl game with 18.5 tackles for a loss, the second-highest tally in school history.