The Daily Aztec

SDSU defeats Hawaii, 28-7, on Penny’s career night

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Senior running back Rashaad Penny attempts a run to the left side during SDSU's 27-3 loss to Fresno State.

Senior running back Rashaad Penny attempts a run to the left side during SDSU's 27-3 loss to Fresno State.

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Senior running back Rashaad Penny attempts a run to the left side during SDSU's 27-3 loss to Fresno State.

by Abraham Jewett, Assistant Sports Editor

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San Diego State senior running back Rashaad Penny has had a quiet last couple of weeks in the Aztecs consecutive losses to Boise State and Fresno State.

But after a six-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean, he was ready to make some noise.

Penny rushed for a career-high 253 yards on 30 attempts, adding two touchdowns while leading the Aztecs to a 28-7 victory over the University of Hawaii (3-5, 1-4 MW) in front of 17,268 fans at Aloha Stadium.

With the victory the Aztecs move to 7-2 on the season, and improve to a record of 3-2 in Mountain West Conference play, ending a two-game conference losing streak.

SDSU needed a win to remain in contention for a spot in the MW championship game, and now sits one game behind Fresno State in the Mountain West West Division standings, after Fresno lost at home earlier in the evening against University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The game was viewed coming in as a battle between the team’s star running backs, with Penny and Hawaii senior Diocemy Saint Juste both ranked top five in the nation in rushing yardage.

Penny was the clear victor in the matchup, and the Aztecs defense did their part to contain Saint Juste, who managed only 40 yards on 17 attempts, well below his average of 156.29 yards per game.

SDSU out-rushed Hawaii 334 yards to 35, and held a total yardage advantage of 417 to 195.

The Aztecs defense sacked Hawaii junior quarterback Dru Brown three times, including two by junior defensive lineman Chibu Onyeukwu, and forced the Rainbow Warriors to punt eight times.  

The first score of the game came with 3:08 left in the first quarter, when the Aztecs scored on a one-yard rush by sophomore Juwan Washington that made the score 7-0.

The touchdown finished off a 14-play, 68-yard drive, which took over six minutes off the clock and included nine rushes by Penny.

Hawaii’s first big opportunity to score came in the second quarter, following a 47-yard pass from Brown to senior wide receiver Isaiah Bernard that got the Rainbow Warriors deep into Aztecs territory. The drive stalled after Brown, who finished the game with 160 yards passing on 19 completions, was sacked by SDSU junior defensive end Noble Hall on third down, and Hawaii’s 37-yard field goal attempt was pushed wide left by sophomore kicker Alex Trifonovitch.

SDSU built its lead to 14-0 at 14:07 in the second quarter, scoring on a 16-yard touchdown pass from redshirt junior quarterback Christian Chapman, who threw for 83 yards in the game on 11 attempts, to senior wide receiver Mikah Holder.

It was the first touchdown catch of the season for Holder, who leads the team in receptions (32) and yards (438) but had failed to reach the end zone.

Hawaii made the score 14-7 with 24 seconds left in the first half, finishing off a 16 play 88-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brown.

The Rainbow Warriors were twice bailed out by the Aztecs on the drive, after a roughing the kicker penalty on junior wide receiver Fred Trevillion and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on senior defensive lineman Sergio Philips kept the SDSU defense on the field.

SDSU made the score 21-7 with 10:23 to play in the third quarter, after a 30-yard pass over the middle to senior tight end David Wells set up a one-yard Penny touchdown run on the next play.

The final score came on Penny’s longest run of the night, when he took a pitch to the left 63 yards for a touchdown to make the score 28-7.

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