Rashaad Penny is having a great season at running back for San Diego State, but was sidelined for a bit against Northern Illinois with an eye injury. Replay revealed some apparent dirty play caused the problem.
In the first quarter, it certainly looked like Northern Illinois linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis intentionally dug his hand into the facemask of Penny to swipe at the running back’s eyes.
NIU suspended Jones-Davis for its next game:
Northern Illinois suspends linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis for next game. He was caught on camera poking SDSU's Rashaad Penny in the eye.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) October 1, 2017
Luckily, Penny returned to the field just a few plays later, although the team hasn’t needed his help much with 31 points in the first half despite only 25 offensive plays. At some point in time a visor was installed on his helmet, presumably to protect his eyes the rest of the game.
“I just think that stuff shouldn't happen," Penny told reporters after the game. "I thought we were all more mature than that. I bounced back. I can't thank my teammates enough. They picked me up when I was down. It was all them. It was a great win."
Penny had 39 rushing yards on eight attempts at halftime, but scored a 33-yard receiving touchdown early in the first quarter that gave the Aztecs a 14-7 lead. It was his 10th touchdown of the season.
His strong start to the year is a big reason why SDSU is 4-0 and No. 19 in the AP Poll. Hopefully Saturday is the last time he’ll have an opponent digging at his eyes under his facemask.