SAN DIEGO - The 19th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs football team remains undefeated after holding off Northern Illinois 34-28 Saturday night at the newly-named SDCCU Stadium.
Heisman hopeful Rashaad Penny ran for 107 yards and caught two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown - despite having his eyes gouged in the first quarter - as the Aztecs improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1975.
But maybe the most notable play of the night happened with 4:12 left in the first quarter. Penny found himself at the bottom of a pile after returning a Huskies kick. Then, NIU linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis was seen reaching into Penny's facemask and gouging his eyes.
The referees did not notice Jones-Davis' gouging, so no penalty was called on the play. Penny left the field holding his face, but returned several minutes later.
"I couldn't see out of my right eye. I honestly thought I was going blind," Penny said in a post-game interview. "That's a play that shouldn't happen in any football game. You shouldn't go into anyone's facemask and try to eye-gouge them... I thought we were all more mature than that."
Penny credited the incident for motivating him to run faster and not play tentative.
"After that, I found an extra gear. I had to step up my game," Penny said.
NIU coach Rod Carey announced Sunday he was suspending Jones-Davis for the Huskies' next game.
The Aztecs return to action Saturday when they face Mountain West Conference rival UNLV in Las Vegas. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.