SDSU football uses ground and pound to defeat Hawaii 28-14

by Ryan Posner, Assistant Sports Editor

It was a textbook win for San Diego State football Saturday night against University of Hawaii.

The Aztecs used a heavy dose of the run and their stout defense to defeat the Rainbow Warriors 28-14.

The win moved the Aztecs to 2-0 in conference play, leaving them needing four wins to make it to their fourth straight bowl game.

SDSU ran the ball a whopping 56 times for 221 yards compared to 15 passes, with five different players logging carries.

In the Rocky Long era, the Aztecs are 23-2 when rushing for 200-plus yards.

Junior running back Donnel Pumphrey’s status for Saturday’s game was in question after suffering a high ankle sprain in the team’s win last week against Fresno State.

Not only did he play, but he carried the Aztecs to the win over Hawaii with 30 rushes for 148 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the fourth time that Pumphrey has rushed for three touchdowns in a game in his career.

SDSU’s defense added another stout performance to its 2015 campaign, holding a Rainbow Warriors team that has averaged over 37 points at home this season to 14 points.

Junior linebacker Calvin Munson added another two sacks to his team lead and 6-foot-5 230-pound junior linebacker Randy Ricks was a menace for Hawaii senior quarterback Max Wittek, with two pass breakups, two quarterback hits and a tackle for a loss.

Munson finished with a team-high 12 total tackles and two tackles for a loss to go along with the two sacks.

Pumphrey got SDSU on the board in its first possession, scoring on a 34-yard rush to cap off a 75-yard drive.

It didn’t take Pumphrey long to find the end zone again, punching in an 8-yard rush to give the Aztecs a 14-0 lead a little over five minutes into the game.

The Aztecs had all the momentum and it looked like they were going to run away with the game, but it was mostly a battle of the punters for the rest of the first half.

Junior punter Tanner Blain had a stellar performance, pinning Hawaii inside its own 20 on three occasions and averaging 43.6 yards over nine punts.

Graduate transfer quarterback Maxwell Smith provided some fireworks late in the second quarter, finding junior wide receiver Eric Judge for a 58-yard touchdown pass off a play-action.

Judge led SDSU receivers with 92 yards on four catches and the touchdown.

Hawaii struck first in the second half via a 1-yard rush from Wittek, narrowing the edge to 21-14 midway through the third quarter.

Pumphrey had an answer for the score, though, punching in his third touchdown of the game on a 4-yard rush to seal the win for SDSU.

Wittek left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return to the game until late in the fourth quarter. Junior Ikaika Woosley subbed in for Wittek, going 5-for-5 with 19 yards.

Smith put together one of his finest performances as an Aztec, going 11-for-15 with 184 yards and a touchdown. It was the most yards Smith has thrown as an Aztec.

Junior cornerback Damontae Kazee put the game on ice for the Aztecs with his team-leading fourth interception with less than two minutes in the game.

SDSU will travel up to San Jose State next week to take on the Spartans next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.