San Diego State (4-3, 3-1 Mountain West) had its hands full with the University of Hawaii (2-5, 1-1 Mountain West) this evening in San Diego. Quinn Kaehler and Donnel Pumphrey put the team on their back in a game that would decide first place in the West Division of the Mountain West Conference. Kaehler got the start after missing the last two games due to a sprained throwing shoulder, and finished with 174 yards on 13-24 passing.
Running backs Donnel Pumphrey and Chase Price established the ground game early, helping the Aztecs on an 86-yard opening drive that was capped by a 10-yard Pumphrey run for a score. The Aztecs dodged a bullet when Hawaii missed a 39-yard field goal after Billy Vaughn Jr. muffed a punt.
SDSU's stout run defense held Hawaii's ground attack to just 50 yards in the first half and limited quarterback Ikaika Woolsey to just 15 yards on three attempts. That was until Woolsey and the Rainbow Warriors took one minute to drive 66 yards for the touchdown. The score came on a 40-yard deep ball that bounced off of safety Na'Im McGee's chest and into the hands of Marcus Kemp. The Aztecs went into halftime up 10-7
Former Aztec safety Nat Berhe knows the importance of knocking the ball down in that situation.
@StefanieLoh you have to Stef.— Nat Berhe (@NatBerhe) October 19, 2014
Hawaii turned Qualcomm Stadium silent when it took the opening second half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. Fortunately for Aztec Nation, the return was called back on a hold. Kaehler took SDSU on a 92-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard pass over the top to Lloyd Mills which put the Aztecs up 10. Kaehler was perfect on the drive, going 4-4 for 71 yards to notch his third TD pass of the year.
Woolsey converted a critical 4th-and-10 on the ensuing drive with a 12-yard completion to Scott Harding. SDSU stopped Hawaii two series later and they kicked a field goal to bring the deficit to seven closing out the third quarter. On the Aztecs' next possession, kicker Donny Hageman missed left from 31 yards out. It was only his second miss all season.
A fourth-quarter interception by sophomore Damontae Kazee gave SDSU the ball near midfield with just under 10 minutes to play. Pumphrey caught himself as he tripped near the line of scrimmage and extended the play for 47 yards, bringing SDSU into the red zone. Hageman ended the drive with a 23-yard field goal to put SDSU up by 10.
Sophomore safety Malik Smith got his second pick of the season on Hawaii's next possession, giving SDSU a chance to put the game out of reach with just over five minutes left. The Aztecs would turn it over on downs on Hawaii's 10-yard line before recovering a fumble on the Warriors' next play to seal the victory.