You can’t do a Hawaii-San Diego State “Football Throwbacks” entry without acknowledging the existence of one Marshall William Faulk.
So, sorry Rainbow Warriors fans, this week’s submission might be painful — much like the UH-SDSU series as a whole. The Aztecs, who absolutely dominated the Rainbows in the 1990s WAC (winning nine straight from 1990 to 1998), have also gotten the better of the ‘Bows in the Mountain West, having won all six meetings there thanks to a seemingly nonstop procession of great running backs like Rashaad Penny and Donnel Pumphrey.
The Aztecs are a 17.5-point favorite to make it seven straight today at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium, and already lead the overall series 21-9-2, including 10-4 in San Diego.
But let’s look at the 1992 matchup in San Diego, at what was then known as Jack Murphy Stadium.
Now, as you may know, this was a great year for UH — one of the best the program ever had. UH won a share of its first WAC title. Its 11 wins that year was the program’s high mark until the Sugar Bowl season in 2007.
But against San Diego State on Nov. 14, 1992? Ouch. SDSU trounced UH — then ranked No. 24 — 52-28.
Faulk ran roughshod over the Rainbows, just as he’d done the year before at Aloha Stadium (and would do the following year at Aloha Stadium) before mercifully going out for the NFL Draft after his junior year.
Faulk, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound sophomore, had his most prolific game in terms of carries and yardage, going for exactly 300 on 43 attempts, and scoring four touchdowns. He was actually coming off a quadriceps injury going into the game, and had three subpar, touchdown-less games (by his standards) before the Nov. 14, 1992 meeting with Hawaii.
“I’m still injured, but hurt or not I made up my mind that I was going to give whatever I had for as long as I had it,” Faulk told the Honolulu Advertiser’s Ferd Lewis.
“I didn’t know I’d get that many carries. But I told them (the coaches), I’d be in there for as long as they needed me.”
Marshall Faulk vs. Hawaii
1991 – 212 yards, 22 carries, 5 TD (9.5 ypc)
1992 – 300 yards, 43 carries, 4 TD (7.0 ypc)
1993 – 175 yards, 27 carries, 4 TD (6.5 ypc)
He’d average 229 yards against UH for his career, surpassing the previous NCAA record of average yardage by a player against one opponent in three or more games (Herschel Walker, 216.3 vs. Florida).
UH was actually in the game for a while; SDSU led only 24-21 at halftime, thanks to scores by slotback Ivin Jasper and running back Travis Sims, plus a first-quarter 38-yard interception return by Joe Shaw. Jason Elam had a 57-yarder to tie it going into the half, but it clanked off the crossbar.
The Rainbows kept it going to open the second half, as UH quarterback Michael Carter scored from 2 yards to put the Rainbows up 28-24. But Faulk would not be denied; he got the lead back with a 2-yard score and it was all Aztecs from there.
“We got the lead in the second half, but from that point, they took an extra step and took the game to another level,” Carter told the Advertiser.
If Faulk’s herculean effort weren’t enough, quarterback David Lowery threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns in causing a three-way logjam atop the WAC standings, with UH, SDSU and BYU all at 5-2.
Bob Wagner and Co. would clinch a share of UH’s first WAC title the next week against Wyoming. To cap the season, the Rainbows would return to the scene of the San Diego crime and face Illinois in the Holiday Bowl. They found a rare measure of success in Ron Burgundy’s favorite city, beating the Illini 27-17.
San Diego State, under Al Luginbill, would finish a pedestrian 5-5-1 (5-3 WAC). SDSU lost a shootout to Fresno State the next week, then was routed by No. 1 Miami to end the year. Faulk ended up losing out on the Heisman as well, to the Hurricanes’ Gino Torretta.