San Diego State Outlasts Hawaii in Overtime, Clinches Bowl Eligibility

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

It wasn't easy, but the Aztecs pulled out a 28-21 win over the Rainbow Warriors late last night to earn themselves their sixth win.

Behind another strong effort from the running game, San Diego State emerged victorious over Hawaii, winning 28-21 in overtime. The Aztecs managed 234 yards on the ground, including 163 from star back Adam Muema, who also notched the game-winning score in the first overtime. San Diego State is now 6-4 (5-1 in the MWC), while the Rainbow Warriors drop to 0-10 (0-7 in the MWC).

Despite a slow start -- down 14-7 at the half -- SDSU was able to overcome turnovers in the second half to record the win. The team lost four fumbles on the game, and punted on six different drives in the first half. Three Aztec players rushed for touchdowns -- Muema, Donnel Pumphrey and Chad Young -- while QB Quinn Kaehler also threw for a score to Colin Lockett. While Kaehler certainly wasn't the star of the show, he was an effective 17-of-34 passing, for 265 yards.

On the Hawaii side, it was another crushing loss in a season full of them. Hanging tough in the fourth, the Rainbow Warriors were up 21-14 before Young's touchdown with over two minutes to go tied the game. Though they controlled time of possession (over 31 minutes) and were effective on third down (8-of-19), six of Hawaii's final seven drives ended with either a punt or a turnover on downs. For the game, quarterback Stan Schroeder was 18-of-36 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. The rushing attack was led by Joey Iosefa, who ran 37 times for 150 yards and a touchdown.

San Diego State's tough victory gives them six on the season, and they still hold an outside shot of stealing the West Division title from Fresno State. The Bulldogs would need to lose both of their remaining games, while SDSU would need to win both of theirs. Fresno has the tiebreaker between the two teams after a tight 35-28 overtime win several weeks back.

The fact that the Aztecs are even in this position is a bit astounding, considering how rough of a start they had to the season. At 0-3, it appeared they were a team going nowhere, especially given the stunning opening loss to Eastern Illinois. But since then, they've won six of seven, with the only blemish being the aforementioned game against Fresno State. This is the Aztec's fourth consecutive season of bowl eligibility -- a first for the program.

While Hawaii's not going bowling, they still have plenty to play for. The Rainbow Warriors have not gone winless in a season since 1998, and should they do so this year, it would only be the second time that's happened in program history. They wrap up the 2013 season at Wyoming (4-6) and host Army (3-7) two days after Thanksgiving; both presenting plenty of opportunity to finally put a W on the board.

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