(Las Vegas, NV) Donnel Pumphrey, Jr. became college football’s all-time leading rusher leading his San Diego Aztecs to a 34-10 victory over the Houston Cougars in the 25th Las Vegas Bowl Saturday afternoon at Sam Boyd Stadium. Pumphrey rushed for 115 yards on 19 carries with the record breaker coming in the 4th quarter on a 15-yard jaunt that broke Ron Dayne’s record set between 1996-1999.
The Houston Cougars (9-4) defense effectively stifled Pumphrey in the first quarter holding the senior running back to -1 yard rushing. A 30-yard run early in the second quarter opened the floodgates and he and never looked back.
The Cougars took the early lead on a Ty Cummings 31-yard field goal with 6:38 left in the first quarter and scored again on their next possession when quarterback Greg Ward, Jr. ran it in from 2 yards out. That would be the extent of Ward’s success on a chilly day in the desert as he was intercepted 4 times and sacked 7 times by a ferocious Aztec defense.
A pair of John Baron field goals pulled the Aztecs to within 10-6 at the half.
Five minutes into the 3rd quarter, Calvin Munson picked off Greg Ward’s pass setting up Donnel Pumphries’ 32 yard touchdown run, giving San Diego State a lead they would not relinquish.
On the next series, Ward was intercepted again as Ron Smith returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.
Pumphrey broke the record early in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard burst to the outside and down the sideline before going out of bounds. His teammates knew that was the run that did it and swarmed around him to celebrate.
San Diego State spoiled Major Applewhite’s debut as head coach of the Houston Cougars. Applewhite was recently promoted from his offensive coordinator position.
Donnel Pumphrey was voted the game’s MVP by the media covering the game.
Major Applewhite made his debut as the Cougars Head Coach in today’s game. He had been Houston’s offensive coordinator.
Today’s game was broadcast on ABC-TV with Brent Musburger calling the play-by-play for the seventh time. Jesse Palmer did the color commentary and Kaylee Hartung handled the sideline reporting.
Alabama Crimson broadcaster Eli Gold called the game for USA for Sports USA Radio Network with former college football coach Gary Barnett doing the color commentary.
Brent Musburger was inducted into the Las Vegas Bowl Hall of Fame at Friday’s kickoff luncheon at the Hard Rock Hotel. He will also be calling the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2nd where Auburn will play Oklahoma.
The Houston Cougars are the first team from Texas to play in the Las Vegas Bowl. San Diego State is playing in its second Las Vegas Bowl and first since 1998.
Houston played one regular season game in Sam Boyd Stadium in 1989 handing UNLV a 69-0 loss led by eventual Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Andre Ware.
Now in its 25th year, the Las Vegas Bowl is the 16th oldest bowl game out of the current 40 being played. It was formerly the “California Raisin Bowl” played in Fresno, CA.
Uniform Shuffle: San Diego State, the home team in today’s game, wore black jerseys and black pants with red helmets. Houston, the visiting team, wore red jerseys, red pants and white helmets.
Aztecs running back Donnel Pumphrey, Jr., a Las Vegas native who played high school football at Canyon Springs just 18 miles from Sam Boyd Stadium, broke Ron Dayne’s all-time collegiate rushing record of 6,397 yards set between 1996-99 with a 15 yard run in the 4th quarter. He needed 108 yards today to set a new mark.
Todays announced attendance: 29,286.