UNLV, Univ. of Hawaii to play for 'Island Showdown' rivalry trop - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

UNLV, Univ. of Hawaii to play for 'Island Showdown' rivalry trophy

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UNLV and UH will play for the Island Showdown Trophy starting Saturday. (UNLV) UNLV and UH will play for the Island Showdown Trophy starting Saturday. (UNLV)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The UNLV and University of Hawaii football teams will have even more to play for every time they face each other on the gridiron with the introduction of a new rivalry trophy Saturday.

The winner of the game will take home the "Island Showdown Trophy" each year UNLV announced Tuesday.

The Mountain West conference teams face off Saturday at 3 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The trophy, sponsored by The California Hotel, features a "Vegas-style gold pineapple" and a variation of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Las Vegas has been nicknamed "The Ninth Island" for it's popularity with Hawaiian visitors and transplants, UNLV said. 

"The Cal is proud to provide an official trophy for a nearly 50-year-old rivalry between UNLV and the University of Hawai'i - the ultimate face-off between the Hawaiian Islands and the Ninth Island," David Lebby, Vice President/General Manager of The California Hotel said. "The Cal and Boyd Gaming have decades-long ties to both UNLV and UH, making our sponsorship of the Island Showdown Trophy a perfect fit for us. We're looking forward to a great game, and may the best team win!"

UNLV and Hawai'i first squared off in football Oct. 25, 1969, which marked just the second year of existence for the Rebel program. The schools have faced each other 26 times with the Rainbow Warriors leading the all-time series 15-11 but with UNLV winning the last two meetings.

"The Rebels and Rainbow Warriors have been playing memorable games against each other in front of spirited crowds in both Las Vegas and Honolulu for five decades so it is fitting for a trophy to become part of the matchup," UNLV Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois said. "We thank our partners at The California Hotel for their support and look forward to seeing our fans Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium."

"Hawai'i and Las Vegas have always shared a special connection," Hawai'i Director of Athletics David Matlin said. "The Island Showdown Trophy is a great symbol of that connection and an exciting addition to the UH-UNLV rivalry. Mahalo to The California Hotel for their sponsorship and for their longtime support of both UH and UNLV athletics. We can't wait for a fantastic atmosphere at Saturday's game."  

It is the second rivalry trophy for UNLV, which plays each fall against in-state rival Nevada, Reno during the last week of Nov. for rights to the Fremont Cannon.

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