STAT WATCH: Rashaad Penny next up as Aztecs’ do-it-all man
Now it’s Rashaad Penny’s turn in the spotlight for San Diego State.
Penny was a 1,000-yard rusher and the Mountain West Conference special teams player of the year in 2016, but he was overshadowed as teammate Donnel Pumphrey became the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher.
Pumphrey is with the Philadelphia Eagles now, and Penny has stepped into his role as the Aztecs’ main attraction. In a 30-20 win at Arizona State on Saturday, Penny broke a 95-yard run for his team’s first touchdown and finished with a career-high 216 yards on 18 carries.
SDSU’s second TD came on Penny’s sixth career kick return for a TD, this one a 99-yarder. Penny later caught a 33-yard scoring from Christian Chapman.
Penny’s 353 all-purpose yards were a national-high and third-most in a game by an SDSU player, behind Marshall Faulk’s 422 against Pacific in 1991 and Darnay Scott’s 354 against UTEP in 1992.
Other notable statistical feats:
Joining Penny in the 200-yard rushing club were Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor.
Brewer ran 38 times for a career and national season-high 262 yards and three touchdowns in the Hurricane’s 66-42 win over Louisiana. Brewer’s 50-yard run for his first TD was the longest run of his career until he went 60 yards to set up a score.
Taylor, Wisconsin’s first true freshman to start at running back since Zach Brown in 2007, ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-14 win over Florida Atlantic.
Clemson’s 11 sacks against Auburn matched the most in an FBS game in five years and were the Tigers’ most since recording 11 against Utah State in 2004. Austin Bryant’s four sacks matched the program record set by Keith Adams in 1999. Clemson recorded no sacks against Kent State in its opener.
SOMETHING IN THE AIR
New Mexico’s Corey Bojorquez boomed a 77-yard punt in the second quarter against New Mexico State, the longest in the nation this season. Last year Bojorquez had an 80-yarder against Colorado State. There were four other punts of 70 yards or longer in the FBS on Saturday.
THAT’S A DEEP BALL
East Carolina’s Gardner Minshew threw a 95-yard touchdown to Trevon Brown in a 56-20 loss to West Virginia, matching the season’s longest play from scrimmage in the FBS. It was Brown’s first touchdown since 2015. He was ineligible last season.
ILLINI `D’ SHOWS UP
Illinois, which went into its home game against Western Kentucky of Conference USA as an underdog, held the Hilltoppers to 6 yards rushing on 16 attempts in a 20-7 win. It was Western Kentucky’s lowest output on the ground since at least 2000. The Illini did it with two true freshman defensive line starters for the first time since 1980.
Nebraska and California, both moving to 3-4 defenses under new coordinators, are the only power-five conference teams allowing more than 500 yards a game. Coordinator Bob Diaco’s Cornhuskers surrendered an average of 531.5 yards against Arkansas State and Oregon; coordinator Tim DeRuyter’s Bears gave up an average of 505.5 yards to North Carolina and Weber State.
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