Rashaad Penny has scored 48 touchdowns in his San Diego State football career, which seems like a lot even without any context.
Now consider he scored zero as a freshman, when he rarely saw the field.
Then he was a third-string running back behind two 1,000-yard rushers as a sophomore.
Then he was a backup to a 2,000-yard rusher as a junior.
Forty eight damn touchdowns.
The “how” is that Rashaad Penny is a touchdown-scoring freak who rains destruction and misery upon all who stand in his way. He has shown the ability to wreck fools in every way imaginable.
Nineteen of Penny’s 24 touchdowns this season have come on the ground, which kind of undersells his versatility. Mixed into his 48 career scores are six receptions, one punt return and an NCAA record-tying seven kickoff returns.
Exactly half of the 48 have come on plays amassing 30 yards or more. Five of his last eight rushing touchdowns went for at least 50 yards.
We think this merits a closer look.
In honor of Penny’s final game in red and black in Saturday’s Armed Forces Bowl, let’s spend a little time reliving all 48 of Rashaad Penny’s touchdowns:
Sept. 5, 2015 (Aztecs 37, USD 3)
97-yard kickoff return
Situation: SDSU led just 20-0 over USD at the half, meaning the plucky Toreros are in this thing, man! All they have to do is seize momentum by getting a stop coming out of halftime, which is totally doable. Let’s just kick off to this No. 20 kid and … oh … oh no.
Look at ole 21 just givin’ it his all! Rashaad is going to beat you to the end zone by 35 yards while running at 80 percent, anonymous Torero, but we shall never forget your grit and hustle.
Sept. 26, 2015 (Penn State 37, Aztecs 21)
100-yard kickoff return
Situation: Saquon Barkley had just scored a touchdown to put the Nittany Lions up 7-0. At that moment, every Doak Walker Award voter shot their TVs with a .44-caliber revolver so they wouldn’t have to watch the ensuing kickoff.
Any time you get a chance to tell thousands of mouth breathing Joe Paterno fanboys to shut the fuck up, you’ve got to take it.
Oct. 3, 2015 (Aztecs 21, Fresno State 7)
Situation: SDSU took a 14-7 lead in the third quarter on this pass. It was the decisive touchdown in a game that started a string of 31 Aztecs wins in 36 games.
Bold strategy by Fresno here to run the “Cover Zero” defense.
Oct. 23, 2015 (Aztecs 48, Utah State 14)
Situation: Garbage time! Get lit for SDSU’s fifth rushing touchdown of the game.
You can just smell the apathy on every not-Rashaad person in this picture. Were the Aggies interested in trying to fight off blocks down 27 points in the fourth quarter? Did any Aztecs fans feel like sticking around to find out? The answer, in both cases, was no.
Nov. 21, 2015 (Aztecs 52, UNLV 14)
Situation: This blah TD put the Aztecs up by 38 points. It was riveting.
The ball popped free when Rashaad’s elbow hit the turf about three yards into the end zone, and UNLV picked it up and ran it back the other way. This make-believe football action was the high point of the game and probably the season for the Rebels.
Nov. 28, 2015 (Aztecs 31, Nevada 14)
Situation: As both D.J. Pumphrey and QB Max Smith were injured and being attended to the sideline in the first quarter, the future unexpectedly arrived. Some freshman named Christian Chapman pitched to Penny to break a 7-7 tie.
Take all the time you need, D.J. Really, we’ve got this.
Dec. 5, 2015 (MWC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Aztecs 27, Air Force 24)
Situation: OK, Rashaad, listen up. A conference title and a bid to the … (checks card) … Hawaii Bowl? Wow. A bid to the Hawaii Bowl is on the line. We are going to give you exactly one carry tonight. It will come with the game tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter. Let’s see what you can do.
Move ref, get out the way.
Get out the way ref, get out the way.
Dec. 24, 2015 (HAWAII BOWL: Aztecs 42, Cincinnati 7)
Situation: As a crowd of literally dozens of people was still filing in to Aloha Stadium, Rashaad housed the Hawaii Bowl opening kickoff.
I struggled to come up with just one screencap to do this justice, so I will give you both …
Penny hitting the dab like a 9-year old on the Viejas Arena video board and …
an #AmericanPow6r surrender cobra. Glorious.
That’s it for 2015. Only 40 more to go!
Dammit, what have I done?
Sept. 3, 2016 (Aztecs 31, New Hampshire 0)
Situation: This was a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter of a blowout against New Hampshire and I nearly fell asleep while typing this sentence.
Yeah, I don’t know why I’m talking about this, either. Let’s move on.
Nos. 10 and 11
Sept. 10, 2016 (Aztecs 45, Cal 40)
Situation: The Aztecs drew first blood in this game on a glorious wheel route.
Pretty good coverage imo.
100-yard kickoff return
Situation: Two minutes and 8 seconds later, Penny answered a Cal TD with this return.
Look closely and you’ll count six Cal Bears in this frame. Penny is in the shadow the goal line, completely boxed in. One of the Bears has his arm wrapped around Penny’s waist. This shot preceded about 130 yards of running and two cutbacks. It was the most preposterous kickoff return TD that didn’t involve a marching band on the damn field.
Sept. 17, 2016 (Aztecs 42, Northern Illinois 28)
Situation: God bless the wheel route! Penny’s TD put the Aztecs up 14-0. Naturally, you missed it because Marshall wasn’t done losing losing to Akron by 27 on CBS Sports Network.
LOL. How do you think this is gonna’ go for No. 19?
Oct. 1, 2016 (South Alabama 42, Aztecs 24)
Situation: This first quarter run existed in a world where the Aztecs were definitely not going to lose to the USA Jaguars two years in a row. I miss that world.
Are you suuuuuure this is going between the tackles, Jaguars, because you seem a little vulnerable on the … yeah … see, what did I just tell you?
Nos. 14 and 15
Oct. 8, 2016 (Aztecs 26, UNLV 7)
Situation: Penny scored on yet another wheel route on SDSU’s first drive of the game.
Seriously there was, like, a four-week span where nobody even bothered to try to defend this play.
Situation: This fourth quarter run broke open a game that had been a little too close.
My god, this might be the worst screengrab in history. I’m so sorry. This is also the “UNLV run defense” of camera angles. smh
Nos. 16, 17 and 18
Oct. 21, 2016 (Aztecs 42, San Jose State 3)
Situation: The first of his three rushing TDs (on nine carries!) came in the second quarter, with the Aztecs up 7-0.
Penny runs past a metaphor for San Jose State’s program.
Situation: Number 2 came early in the third, with the Aztecs up by 18.
Ten Spartans in the box and SDSU runs right at them. The disrespect here is palpable. Rocky Long was definitely tumescent watching this unfold.
Situation: Annnnnnd let’s throw in the longest TD run of Penny’s career to date at the end of the third just to be mean. Being mean to San Jose State is one of SDSU football’s proudest traditions!
Penny sprints toward the only D* he’s seen all game.
Nov. 5, 2016 (Aztecs 55, Hawaii 0)
Situation: No, really: Penny’s very next TD was another 73-yard run. This one put the Aztecs up 34-0.
He literally hopped through a 2 1/2-foot-wide hole before leaving a vapor trail and 11 Rainbow Warriors in his wake. Don’t even attempt to look for holding in this photo. Holding is a lie.
Nos. 20 and 21
Nov. 12 (Aztecs 46, Nevada 16)
Situation: This was a fine way to cap SDSU’s first drive of the game.
Rashaad stiff-arming the umpire to Winnemucca would have made this my favorite sports highlight ever. Oh well, maybe next time.
Situation: Some third quarter cruelty. Watch the video with the sound on, if only for the woman screaming “NOOOOOOO” when Penny breaks into the second level.
Paint me like one of your French girls.
Nov. 19, 2016 (Wyoming 34, Aztecs 33)
93-yard kickoff return
Situation: The opening kickoff again. No dabbing this time.
- What is WYO VISION?
- Why is a Wyoming player taking a turn on a sideline Slip ‘N Slide?
Nos. 23 and 24
Dec. 3, 2016 (MWC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:
Aztecs 27, Wyoming 24)
Situation: The stakes could not have been higher! This run in the third quarter gave SDSU its first lead.
That’s either Penny flying into the end zone, or a Wyoming linebacker is ironing a pair of black trousers on the goal line. We report. You decide!
Situation: Actually, the stakes may have been higher here. At the end of the 3rd, Penny broke another tie and gave the Aztecs the lead for good with some tough running.
Man. Remember when we all went nuts because Penny dragged that Hawaii dude by his shirt tail? Why did I not remember him dragging a Cowboys linebacker for four yards to score a key touchdown in the damn championship game?
The answer is probably alcohol.
On to 2017!
Nos 25 and 26
Sept. 2, 2017 (Aztecs 38, UC Davis 17)
Situation: SDSU led just 3-0 with 6 minutes left in the first quarter. Honestly it was nice of them to allow the SkyShow crowd to filter in before turning Rashaad loose.
YEAH! Suck it, in-state FCS agricultural school!
Situation: Penny extended the lead to 24-3 just before halftime.
One of the things I really like about Penny’s style is the way he slows to a trot when he knows no one has a chance of touching him. It usually happens near the end of long runs but this, from 9 yards out, is a terrific example of the genre.
Nos. 27, 28 and 29
Sept. 9, 2017 (Aztecs 30, Arizona State 20)
Situation: In a scoreless game, a punt pinned the Aztecs at their own 5. I’d like to see them wriggle out of this jam. Ah! Well. Nevertheless,
“I regret nothing!”
99-yard kickoff return
Situation: Remember that time Cal gave up a TD to Penny, answered with one of their own and then kicked it to Penny? Arizona State tried that, too. Pac-12 teams are stupid is what I’m saying.
Come for the TD, stay for Juwan Washington contemplating murdering a kicker.
Situation: Late in the third quarter, with the Aztecs up 20-14, a Christian Chapman check-down gave us one of the most beautiful moments in SDSU football history.
Gone but never forgotten.
Sept. 16, 2017 (Aztecs 20, Stanford 17)
Situation: With 43 seconds left in the half, and the Aztecs trailing 7-3 in their biggest nonconference home game in a generation, Penny made us believe.
If SDSU needs a replacement for the Marshall Faulk banner that hangs outside SDCCU, I have an image to suggest.
Nos. 31, 32 and 33
Sept. 23, 2017 (Aztecs 28, Air Force 24)
Situation: Holy shit, this game. SDSU fell behind 9-0 in a freaking arctic squall, then endured a two-hour lightning delay. This TD was the start of digging out of that hole.
Christian Chapman can be very helpful. Thanks, buddy.
Situation: Penny gave SDSU its first lead late in the third quarter, right as the people at Woodstocks were starting to glare at me for occupying a booth for four hours.
Pretty cool they managed to get all 16 fans still at the game into the same shot.
Situation: Air Force went up 24-21 in the fourth quarter, leaving SDSU in need of a big play. Penny had one more left in him.
My god, Tim Wilson. This has just inspired me to start a Pinterest that pins nothing but pictures of awesome downfield blocks by wide receivers.
Sept. 30, 2017, Aztecs 34, Northern Illinois 28
Situation: In a 7-7 game midway through the first quarter, Penny gives SDSU the lead. In response, the Huskies attempt to gouge one of his eyes out. Seems fair and just and sportsmanlike.
Man, I miss this. Can we talk about how bafflingly underutilized Penny has been in the passing game lately? Rashaad has caught only two passes in SDSU’s last six games. This is not really a gripe, it just seems like a pretty effective weapon to never turn to anymore. I dunno, maybe teams cover the wheel route now.
Nos. 35 and 36
Oct. 7, 2017 (Aztecs 41, UNLV 10)
Situation: Penny punches one in to give the Aztecs a 27-10 lead in the third quarter. I don’t recall if this is before or after he stiffed-armed a Rebel DB into outer space.
Wait for it…
Wait for itttttt…
Situation: Another TD in the fourth made it an official blowout.
Another track off the “Penny Scoring TDs While Jogging at Half-Speed ” mixtape.
Oct. 14, 2017 (Boise State 31, Aztecs 14)
Situation: This game was bad and stupid throughout, with the exception of two plays in the second half. Here was one of them.
There’s just a lot going on here. A woman snaps an iPhone pic. Nick Bawden suffocates a Boise fan with his club hand. Cannon Guy looms in the distance, ominously.
Nos. 38 and 39
Oct. 28, 2017 (Aztecs 28, Hawaii 7)
Situation: With SDSU ahead 14-7 in the third, Penny punched in some insurance.
Pictured: Rashaad Penny, probably. Maybe?
Situation: Early in the fourth, Penny broke loose and put the game on ice.
This game was definitely out-drawn by the Aloha Stadium swap meet.
Nos. 40, 41 and 42
Nov. 4, 2017 (Aztecs 52, San Jose State 7)
Situation: Rashaad takes advantage of SJSU being bad.
It’s honestly a pretty good idea to curl up into the fetal position before Bawden even hits you.
Situation: Rashaad takes advantage of SJSU being bad, again.
HOLY CRAP ROCKY WAS ACTUALLY SCOWLING WITH HIS ARMS CROSSED THE ENTIRE TIME.
Situation: Rashaad takes advantage of SJSU being bad, yet again.
Making eye contact with the Spartan at the 5-yard line was lowkey savage.
Nos. 43, 44, 45 and 46
Nov. 18, 2017 (Aztecs 42, Nevada 23)
Situation: Inexplicably trailing 10-0 in the first, SDSU dials up a halfback pass. Penny has a better idea.
What the hell? The idea that this image is the somehow prelude to a rushing TD only makes sense if you assume that Penny is floating four feet above the zero numeral painted on the field. That … that might actually be what happened come to think of it.
70-yard punt return
Situation: Let’s see, they just made Penny throw a pass. Why not make him return a punt, which he had also never done before?
Bless your little heart, Nevada punter. A for effort.
100-yard kickoff return
Situation: It’s the third quarter and SDSU is clinging to a 28-23 win against a 2-win team. Do something, Rashaad!
This is the face you make when Rashaad does something.
Situation: Another one? Another one.
No. 6, my dude! You’ve got a pretty good angle. Give it your all and you might be able to catch him!
Nos. 47 and 48
Nov. 24, 2017 (Aztecs 35, New Mexico 10)
Situation: It’s 7-0 right before the half when Penny breaks free.
I think Penny wisely cut inside here just to stay in the shadow of the stadium light ring. It was a really hot day!
Situation: Another burst in the third made it 21-0. It proved to be a significant chunk of yardage, folks!
Only the best runs get their own CBS Sports Network graphics.
Annnnnd that’s all of them. For now. I’ll now go ahead and leave a little space at the bottom for four more Saturday.
OK, maybe five.