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Penny leads SDSU past Hawaii

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JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny (20) rushes the ball past Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai (31) and defensive back Daniel Lewis Jr. (4) at Aloha Stadium.

Hawaii kept it close for a while, but eventually San Diego State wore down an overworked defense to secure a 28-7 Mountain West Conference victory before a sparse Aloha Stadium crowd of 17,268.

The win snapped a modest two-game losing streak for San Diego State. The Aztecs are 7-2 overall and 3-2 in MWC play. Hawaii dropped to 3-5 for the season and 1-4 in conference action.

Three different Aztecs found the end zone, but it all went through running back Rashaad Penny. He had a career-high 253 yards on 30 carries and two scores, including a 63-yarder that carried him over the 200-yard mark for the third time in his career.

By contrast, UH running back Diocemy Saint Juste had only 40 yards on 17 carries with a long of 10 that pretty much summed up the evening. UH quarterback Dru Brown had no magic this evening either, completing only 19 of 33 passes for 160 yards. UH was down only seven at the half, but San Diego State outscored the ‘Bows 14-0 in the second half.

FOURTH QUARTER: SAN DIEGO STATE 28, HAWAII 7

San Diego State began its fourth scoring drive on the UH 1 late in the third quarter. It ended the six-play drive at the 13:32 mark of the fourth quarter on a 63-yard touchdown run by Penny. John Baron II added the PAT to extend the Aztecs’ lead to 28-7.

Hawaii forced a turnover on an interception by Zeno Choi midway through the quarter to give UH the ball at its own 29. It was quarterback Christian Chapman’s first interception since the opening game of the season. It was a string of 167 passes without a pick.

Late in the game, Hawaii went for it on fourth down deep in its own end and failed to pick up the first down. The Aztecs took over at the UH 33 with less than four minutes remaining and just ran the ball into the line three times to pick up a first at the UH 20. Mercifully, the clock ran out.

THIRD QUARTER SAN DIEGO STATE 21, HAWAII 7

San Diego State got the ball first to start the second half and promptly picked up a first down on a pass interference penalty, but the opening series stalled, forcing a punt that gave UH the ball at its own 17. The Warriors went three-and-out once more and had a poor punt to give the Aztecs a short field at the UH 40.

The Aztecs needed only four plays to score, the final snap a 1-yard run by Penny. Baron added the PAT to make it 21-7 with 10:23 left in the quarter.

Once again the UH offense failed to produce any yardage, going three-and-out for the fifth time in the game. At this point, Saint Juste only had 28 yards on 13 attempts with a long of 5.

A chop block penalty killed San Diego State’s next drive that began at the UH 49, but another good punt forced UH back to its own 8 to begin the next drive of the quarter.

The Warriors steadily moved down field, helped by a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer to set up a first down at the Aztecs 49. But the drive stalled, forcing UH to punt for the sixth time. UH downed the ball inside the Aztecs 1.

SECOND QUARTER: SAN DIEGO STATE 14, HAWAII 7

San Diego State began its third offensive series near the end of the first quarter and completed it with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Chapman to wideout Mikah Holder with 14:07 left in the second. Baron added the PAT to make it 14-0. The scoring drive went 62 yards on eight plays.

Down two touchdowns, the UH offense began its fourth series at its own 25. But unlike the first three, UH converted its opening first down with 12:47 left in the half on a third-down pass completion from quarterback Dru Brown to receiver Dylan Collie for 5 yards.

The crowd gave a Bronx cheer in recognition of moving the sticks. Those quickly turned to real applause when Brown completed a 47-yard pass to Isaiah Bernard for a first down at the San Diego State 16. It was his first catch of the year. Had he kept his feet, he would have scored.

Unfortunately for the Warriors he didn’t, forcing UH to settle for a 37-yard field-goal attempt that was missed badly wide left by Alex Trifonovitch, giving the Aztecs the football at their own 20. The crowd booed lustily with the miss.

Hawaii got one last scoring shot before the half with a drive that should have ended twice. But thanks to a pair of 15-yard penalties by the Aztecs, the Warriors found themselves with a first down at the San Diego State 15 with 1:32 left before the marching band took the field.

Brown ended the scoring drive with a 1-yard keeper with 24 seconds left. Trifonovitch added the PAT to cut the Aztecs’ lead to 14-7. The drive went 88 yards on 16 plays.

FIRST QUARTER: SAN DIEGO STATE 7, HAWAII 0

Hawaii went three-and-out on its opening two offensive possessions of the game, but the Aztecs did not. On their second series they moved from their own 32 into Hawaii territory on a critical third-and-7 pass completion from Chapman to Holder for 22 yards.

They hooked up again on a 17-yarder that helped set up a first-and-goal from the 1. Three snaps later, burly back Juwan Washington took it in from 1 yard out to give San Diego State a 7-0 advantage after Baron added the PAT with 3:08 left in the first. The drive went 68 yards on 14 plays.

Hawaii thought it had managed its opening first down at the 2:21 mark, but the pass completion on third down was overturned upon review, forcing Hawaii into a third straight three-and-out in the first quarter.

PREGAME

On a rainy and humid night at a nearly empty Aloha Stadium, the University of Hawaii football team begins the tough part of its schedule in earnest, starting with San Diego State.

Only two weekends back, the Aztecs were a nationally ranked team in hopes of landing a New Year’s Day bowl game. But back-to-back losses to Boise State and Fresno State dashed those dreams, leaving coach Rocky Long to pick up the pieces.

San Diego State dropped to 6-2 overall and a level 2-2 in conference play. The Rainbow Warriors counter with a 3-4 record for the season and 1-3 mark in league action. They need a win in the worst way to keep their tenuous postseason hopes alive.

Both teams have talented running backs in Diocemy Saint Juste for Hawaii and Penny for San Diego State. Penny is fifth nationally in yards per game with 139.4 and all-purpose yards (191.25). Saint Juste is fourth in yard per game with 156.3 (1,094 yards in seven games) and moved to second all-time at UH in rushing yards with 2,686.

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