On San Diego State homecoming night, in what was dubbed the Battle of the Beach, the Hawaii Warriors couldn’t stand against wave after wave of Aztecs finding the end zone. The San Diego State Aztecs surfed comfortably to a 55-0 victory.
To no one’s surprise Donnel Pumphrey ended the night with 100+ yards, no touchdowns, with 85 of those yards coming in the first quarter.
However the Aztecs’ star was outshined by the Aztecs defense.
The 55-point blowout is the largest margin of victory in a shutout dating back to the school’s D-1 beginnings in 1969. The Aztecs defense shut out the Warriors offense even with underclassmen subbed in the waning minutes of the game deep in Aztec territory.
The defense not only played their part in stopping the improved Warriors, they took center stage. Cornerback Ron Smith was the first to have a pick-six during the game while Damontae Kazee tacked on another pick-six and one additional interception. Hawaii-raised linebacker Ronley Lakalaka joined in with a pick of his own. The Aztecs were +3 in turnovers against Hawaii.
By the end of the first half Hawaii QB Dru Brown had thrown 3 picks, the pick-six from Ron Smith, and the Aztecs had built their lead to 27-0. The Warriors switched their QB to Aaron Zwahlen in order to look for a spark, but the substitution was short-lived after he gave up an interception and no momentum was changed.
The Aztecs held the Warriors offense to 215 total yards, and kept the Warriors run game at 48 yards. The Warriors could never finish a solid drive, going 5-16 on third down, despite having have a possession time of 32 minutes.
On the other side of the ball, the offense dominated the line of scrimmage allowing Rashaad Penny a 73-yard touchdown and with 108 total rushing yards. Juwan Washington also rushed for 48 yards and one touchdown.
Even with a strong push from the offensive line, QB Christian Chapman got into the beat down with 3 touchdown passes on 76 yards. Ridiculous stat line, but understandable for a Rocky Long-era game manager. Looking forward, shoot outs will be rare, so Chapman won’t need to throw for 300+ yards. Pumphrey, Penny, and the defense will be every key to Aztecs victory this season.
With the victory the Aztecs improve to 8-1, 5-0 MW. They also clinched the West division after Nevada handing New Mexico a loss. The Aztecs will wait out their future opponent as time will tell if Wyoming holds their lead in the Mountain or if Boise State takes their lead back.