There were a lot of numbers put up in today’s Mountain West Conference football game at San Diego State — none of them good for Hawaii.
Three touchdown passes by Christian Chapman, two 100-yard rushing performances by Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny, and a pair of interception returns for touchdown by the secondary were all the Aztecs needed in a 55-0 thrashing of the Rainbow Warriors at Qualcomm Stadium.
San Diego State has owned Hawaii the past quarter-century, and it was more of the same today en route to the Aztecs raising their overall record to 8-1 and West Division mark to 5-0 in a dominating performance that demonstrates just how far Hawaii has to go to be competitive in this league.
The loss dropped Hawaii to 4-6 (3-3 in league play). The Warriors return home to play host to nationally ranked Boise State on Nov. 12 in what could be more of the same for the overmatched Warriors.
Starting UH quarterback Dru Brown had a dreadful performance, as Hawaii had only 215 yards of total offense. He completed 22 of 35 passes for 135 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. The pair of pick-6s by Ron Smith and Damontae Kazee were particularly costly, as the San Diego State defense was as good as advertised.
So was Pumphrey, who is certainly no one-man band. He did not score a touchdown, but set up the first two en route to 112 yards on 21 carries. Penny countered with 108 yards on eight attempts, including a 73-yard touchdown run that put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
Juwan Washington had a 24-yard touchdown catch and a 20-yard touchdown run in the second half to show how deep San Diego State is compared to UH. Chapman completed only seven of 15 for 76 yards and one pick, but he also had three touchdown passes.
Up 41-0 to start the final period, San Diego State put a punctuation on this lopsided victory with a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown by Kazee. John Baron hit the PAT to extend the lead to 48-0 with 14:42 left in the game.
Brown recorded the interception, but the ball went through the hands of John Ursua and into Kazee’s for the second pick-6 of the night by San Diego State. Washington rounded out the scoring in the game on a 20-yard scoring jaunt, with Baron knocking through the PAT with 8:02 remaining in the game.
The second half was much like the first for Hawaii, which fell behind 41-0 entering the final quarter.
Hawaii got the ball first at its own 26 to start the second half with a new quarterback in freshman Aaron Zwahlen under center. It didn’t take long for his baptism by fire, as the third pass of his career was picked off by Kazee. He returned it to the UH 22.
Chapman was sacked for a huge loss on a blind-side hit. He fumbled the football, but it was recovered by the Aztecs at the 34, setting up a 51-yard field-goal try by Baron, who missed for only the second time in 14 attempts.
Hawaii took over at its own 24. Zwahlen didn’t do much at first, keeping the ball twice for no yards and then throwing a 15-yard completion to Dylan Collie for a first down.
The Rainbow Warriors moved the sticks once more, but then the drive bogged down as Hawaii was forced to punt, pinning San Diego State at its own 13 with about nine minutes left in the period.
From there, the Aztecs broke it open on a 73-yard touchdown run by Penny. Baron hit the PAT to make it 34-0 with 6:42 left in the period. Hawaii continued to struggle offensively against a stout Aztecs defense that forced another three-and-out. On third down, Smith just missed another pick that he would have likely returned to the end zone for his second pick-6. At this point, Zwahlen was 3-for-10 for 32 yards and one pick. Those were his final numbers.
On the ensuing offensive series, UH forced San Diego to punt and took over at its own 14, with Brown coming back into the game at quarterback. But it was just more of the same as the Aztecs forced another three-and-out.
For the second time, Quest Truxton had a good punt return, this one for 33 yards, giving the Aztecs the ball at the UH 25. From there, San Diego State needed only two plays to score again, this time on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Chapman to Washington as Baron converted the PAT to make it 41-0 with 1:24 left.
San Diego State extended its advantage to 27-0 at the half in a dominating performance on both sides of the football.
After forcing a three-and-out to start the second quarter, Hawaii took over in bad field position once again, this time from the Rainbow Warriors’ 8. And once again, Brown struggled, throwing a pass into double coverage on third-and 15.
It was picked off by Smith and returned 14 yards for a touchdown. Baron added the PAT to make it 21-0 San Diego State with 12:36 left in the quarter. And at this point, it wasn’t looking good for the visitors.
On Hawaii’s next possession, the Warriors picked up back-to-back first downs and got the football into Aztecs territory for the first time, before facing a fourth-and-2. Steven Lakalaka got the call, but couldn’t answer, coming up a yard short on a sweep left as San Diego State took over at its own 46 midway through the quarter.
For the second straight possession, the Hawaii defense made a nice stand, this time with an interception by Rojesterman Farris at the San Diego State 49. The pass by Chapman bounced off Pumphrey’s hands and into Farris’. The Rainbow Warrior barely stepped out of bounds on what would have been a pick-6.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, two plays into the drive Brown threw an interception into the hands of Punahou alum Ronley Lakalaka to give San Diego State a first-and-10 at the UH 33 aided by another face-mask penalty at the end of the return.
Once more, the Warriors made a nice stand to force a 30-yard field goal by Baron to make it 24-0 with 3:45 left in the half.
On the next series, Brown had a fumble on the first snap, but it was recovered by UH. It seemed to doom the drive from the start as Hawaii was forced into another three-and-out after Brown missed a wide-open Makoa Camanse-Stevens on a pass that would have kept the drive alive.
A punt by Rigo Sanchez with about two minutes left gave San Diego State the ball at its own 24. The Aztecs moved the football into Hawaii territory, but were forced to punt, giving UH the ball at its own 20 with about a minute remaining.
The Warriors couldn’t do anything with it, but the Aztecs weren’t done thanks to a 41-yard punt return by Truxton to the UH 28 with 13 seconds left. The Aztecs had one incomplete pass before Baron knocked through a 45-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to make it 27-0 Aztecs at the half.
San Diego State had only two drives in the first quarter, but came away with a pair of touchdowns to grab a 14-0 lead.
The Aztecs got the football first to start the game at their own 25 and needed only two plays to get into Hawaii territory. Pumphrey lived up to his billing, carrying the football four times for 31 yards in setting up a nice play-action touchdown pass from Chapman to tight end David Wells, who bulled in from 13 yards out. Baron added the PAT to make it 7-0 San Diego State with 11:35 left in the quarter.
After a holding penalty on the ensuing kickoff, Hawaii started its opening drive of the game at its own 12. The Warriors got one first down en route to getting the ball out over the 30, but the brief drive stalled on third-and-short.
Sanchez lofted a nice punt of 57 yards and San Diego State took over at its own 12. The Aztecs quickly got out of the shadow of their own goal line on an 8-yard Pumphrey run and a 15-yard face-mask penalty by UH. From there, Pumphrey took over, leading his team into Hawaii territory with a 25-yard jaunt on a third-and-2 carry.
He already had 72 yards at this point on eight attempts as it became quickly apparent Hawaii was in trouble trying to stop this vaunted rushing attack. San Diego State had a first-and-10 at the UH 21. Two plays later, Pumphrey set up a first-and-goal from the 8 with a 13-yard run. On third-and-9, Chapman scrambled to keep the play alive before finding a wide-open Truxton in the back of the end zone for the score. Baron added the PAT to make it 14-0 with 1:59 left in the period. San Diego State’s opening two scoring drives were a combined 19 plays for 163 yards. Pumphrey accounted for 85 of those on 10 carries.
Hawaii’s second drive also got off to a poor start thanks to another holding penalty on the kickoff setting up first and 10 from its own 10. At this point, the offense needed to give the defense a break with at least a first down or two. But instead, it was quick three-and-out as the quarter came to an end.