SAN DIEGO (AP) San Diego State offensive coordinator Jeff Horton thinks it's ''a joke'' and ''a disgrace'' that Rashaad Penny isn't a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. Coach Rocky Long thinks the snub doesn't bode well for the nation's leading rusher making it to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
And Penny? Well, the senior is being pragmatic.
Aztecs fans feel Penny should make the Heisman finalist list after his monster game Saturday night, when he amassed 429 all-purpose yards to break Marshall Faulk's school record, and scored four touchdowns in a 42-23 victory against Nevada. Penny rushed for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and had 201 yards and two touchdowns on three returns. He also caught one pass for 6 yards.
Penny leads the nation with 1,824 yards, with 17 rushing touchdowns.
He's not worried about whether he will be a Heisman finalist.
''I mean, I don't know. It's a dream come true. I don't know what they're going to do. It's up to them,'' Penny said after practice Monday. ''I think my teammates are more excited about me just trying to get invited or get a table at the Heisman. I think that would be fun but I mean we'll see what happens.''
Penny doesn't think it will be a snub if he doesn't make it to the Big Apple.
''Oh no. I take college football as politics anyway,'' he said. ''I'm a firm believer in that. I'm in the Group of Five. So, I mean, there's really nothing I can worry about. It's not in my hands. I just play the game just to win and to help us win.''
Penny said he thinks his teammates and fans would be more disappointed about the Doak Walker snub than he is.
''It's really not in my hands. Like I said, all we do is play the game we love and have fun,'' he said. ''I enjoy the game. It's an individual award but I'd take it as a team award. That's how it is, but you just move on.''
Penn State's Saquon Barkley, Stanford's Bryce Love and Wisconsin freshman Jonathan Taylor are the finalists for the Doak Walker Award that goes to the nation's top running back.
Penny did say he was ''kind of mad'' when he saw Barkley, who has 1,057 yards and 14 TDs, was a finalist.
Love is second nationally with 1,723 yards and Taylor third with 1,657.
Penny's Aztecs beat Love's then-No. 19 Cardinal 20-17 in September. Love gained 184 yards on just 13 carries, including touchdown runs of 53 and 51 yards. Penny had 175 yards on 32 carries.
Asked if he considers himself among the top three backs in the country, Penny said: ''I really think my teammates do. Confidence-wise, yeah, I think so. But I really can't control it.''
That's how Long feels.
SDSU chose not to have a Heisman campaign for Penny.
''I don't think that makes one bit of difference,'' Long said. ''I think the Heisman campaign is handled by ESPN.''
Long hopes Penny gets invited to the Heisman ceremony, ''but legitimately, no I don't think he will be. I think there's an East Coast prejudice and I think there's a Power Five prejudice. It doesn't matter how good the guy is.''
Long said he thinks the awards are ''all hype anyway, so what's the difference?''
Penny's exposure nationally is hurt because SDSU, a member of the Mountain West Conference, plays most of its games at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time. SDSU had been ranked No. 19 but then lost consecutive games to Boise State and Fresno State, losing a shot at playing for a third straight league title.
Long said he thinks the awards are ''all hype anyway, so what's the difference?''
''We all know how good Rashaad is,'' he said. ''If people block for him he's as good as anybody in the country.''
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