By Kyle Galdeira
In a game that featured two of the nation’s five best running backs in terms of yards-per-game average, San Diego State turned to its workhorse to lead the way via an effective ground-and-pound attack.
Aztec senior Rashaad Penny racked up a career-high 253 yards on 30 carries including two touchdowns as San Diego State outpaced Hawai‘i 28-7 on Saturday night in a Mountain West contest on Hawaiian Tel FCU Field at Aloha Stadium.
Penny entered the game as the nation’s fifth-best rusher with 139.4 yards per game and nearly doubled that output to the tune of 8.4 yards per carry against the worn-down Rainbow Warrior defense. Juwan Washington added 50 yards and a touchdown for the Aztecs, who out-rushed the ‘Bows 334-35 throughout the dominant performance.
Hawai‘i running back Diocemy Saint Juste entered the game with the country’s fourth-best mark of 156.3 yards per game on the ground, but was held to just 40 yards on 17 carries by the stingy SDSU defense.
“I thought the defense played very hard…kept fighting. I was happy with the effort they gave, but they were on the field way too much,” said Hawai‘i coach Nick Rolovich. “They fought to the end. This was a very physical football game, and we knew that going into it. I can’t criticize the effort, but there are some execution things we can correct. We lost to a good football team.”
The Rainbow Warriors (3-5, 1-4 Mountain West) got on the board with 24 seconds remaining in the opening half as quarterback Dru Brown used a nifty option run to deke the defense, faked a handoff to Saint Juste and plunged over the pile for a one-yard score that trimmed SDSU’s lead to 14-7, a margin that stood at halftime.
“We have to figure something out, get in a rhythm,” said Brown. “It came down to them executing, and us not doing it enough.”
The Aztecs (7-2, 3-2 Mountain West) jumped out to a 14-0 lead as Washington rushed for a one-yard score late in the first frame and Mikah Holder hauled in a 16-yard scoring pass from Christian Chapman early in the second quarter.
San Diego State leads the all-time series 21-9-2 dating back to 1939. The Aztecs also have an 11-6-2 advantage in games played in Hawai‘i.
UH will prepare to hit the road for the fifth time this season as the ‘Bows face league foe UNLV in Las Vegas on Nov. 4.
(Photos By: Andrew Lee / Hawaii Media Source)