HONOLULU – Rashaad Penny returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and San Diego State routed Cincinnati 42-7 in the Hawaii Bowl on Thursday.
The Aztecs (11-3) won their final 10 games to match the longest winning streak in school history.
Penny had his third kickoff return for a score this season – and second 100-yarder – and broke the Hawaii bowl record for the longest return before a sparse crowd of 14,537 at Aloha Stadium.
San Diego State rushed for 207 yards, topping the 200-yard mark for the 10th consecutive game, and finished with 336 yards of total offense.
Donnell Pumphrey, the Mountain West offensive player of the year, had 99 yards on 25 carries for the Aztecs. He threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Dakota Gordon and had a 1-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter. Gordon also had a 1-yard run and finished with four catches for 58 yards.
Cincinnati finished 7-5.
Redshirt freshman Christian Chapman made his second straight start with starter Maxwell Smith out with a knee injury. Chapman threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mikah Holder to cap an 85-yard, nine-play drive on San Diego State’s first offensive possession.
The touchdown came a play after Cincinnati defensive Alex Pace left with an undisclosed injury. He appeared to be favoring his left arm and did not return.
Chapman was 8 of 11 for 113 yards and did not have an interception.
The Aztecs led 14-0 after the first quarter, the ninth time this season they held an opponent scoreless in the opening quarter.
Cornerback Damontae Kazee had his eighth interception of the season to set up Pumphrey’s 33-yard halfback-option pass to Gordon, with the fullback bouncing off a defender before crossing the plane of the end zone. That made it 21-0 late in the first half.
Cincinnati turned it over on downs midway through the third quarter when it attempted and failed a fake field goal, which gave the Aztecs possession at their 33. Eight plays later, Gordon found the end zone on his 1-yard plunge.
Pumphrey capped an 11-play, 85-yard drive that took nearly 7 minutes off the clock early in the fourth quarter to make it 35-0.
Defensive lineman Alex Barrett had the third interception of Cincinnati quarterback Hayden Moore minutes later and returned it 43 yards for a score with 9:04 to play.
Moore, a redshirt freshman, made his third career start in place of junior Gunner Kiel, who did not make the trip because of undisclosed personal reasons. Moore was 19 of 30 for 202 yards.
The Bearcats finally got on the board on Mike Boone’s 1-yard run with 3:21 remaining.
Cincinnati’s Max Morrison had seven catches for 84 yards.
Cincinnati entered the game ranked first nationally in passing yards per game (373.1) and total offense (559.4). It was held to 279 yards in the loss.
San Diego State, the Mountain West Conference champion, improved to 21-2 under coach Rocky Long in games where it rushes for more than 200 yards. The three turnovers it forced Thursday gave San Diego State 34 on the season.
Cincinnati beat San Diego State 52-23 in September 2007 in the only other meeting between the schools.
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