San Diego State blanks Hawaii

Trayvon Henderson // Hawai'i Athletics

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – In clash between the top two teams in the West Division of the Mountain West, San Diego State got the better of Hawai’i, 55-0, Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium. UH dropped to 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the conference with the loss.

The Aztecs (8-1, 5-0 MW) continued their stronghold on first-place with their 16th straight win in conference and 10th straight at home. The Rainbow Warriors came into the game having won their last two road games, but were unable to gain any momentum in a highly physical game.

SDSU was dominant on both sides of the ball. The Aztecs, ranked ninth in the NCAA in rushing, piled up 296 yards on the ground led by the duo of Rashaad Penny (108 yards) and Donnel Pumphrey (112), the nation’s leading rusher.  Meanwhile, SDSU limited the UH offense to a season-low 215 total yards, forced four turnovers, and scored two defensive touchdowns, both on interception returns.

SDSU was methodical in its first two possessions. They pounded the ball on the ground for the majority of its 75- and 88-yard scoring drives, yet capped each drive in the air with a pair of short touchdown passes by Christian Chapman.

UH buckled down on defense the rest of the half, but the Aztecs found other ways to hurt UH. The defense helped SDSU score 10 points off of two UH turnovers, including a 14-yard interception return by Ron Smith early in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, a Quest Truxton 41-yard punt return helped set up an Aztec field goal in the waning seconds of the second quarter. UH was able to muster just 73 total yards in in the first half as they trailed 27-0 at the break.

The Aztecs didn’t let up in the second half, scoring four unanswered touchdowns, highlighted by a 73-yard touchdown run by Penny and another interception return for score, this time a 54-yarder by Damontae Kazee.

UH quarterback Dru Brown finished 22-of-35 for 135 yards and three interceptions. Redshirt freshman Aaron Zwhalen who started the second half and played three series went 3-of-10 for 32 yards and one interception in his first action as a Rainbow Warrior. Jahlani Tavai led the UH defense with 10 tackles, whileTrayvon Henderson (eight tackles) recorded three of the team’s seven tackles-for-loss.

UH now returns home where they will play two of its final three regular season games, beginning with a nationally-televised matchup with Boise State on Saturday, Nov. 12. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. at Hawaiian Telcom FCU Field at Aloha Stadium.

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