ASU breaks losing streak behind Eno Benjamin's record-setting outing

Benjamin broke records and proved ASU's run game is full of potential during Saturday's win against OSU

ASU football's game against Oregon State was a clash of running backs, and the Sun Devils won that battle as they came out with a 52-24 victory. 

The running backs that stole the show were ASU sophomore Eno Benjamin and OSU freshman Jermar Jefferson

“It was a great feeling, but honestly, we had a game plan,” Benjamin said. “We knew we were going to be able to run the ball on them … if you saw the way we practiced this week, you would’ve known it was going to happen.”

Benjamin and Jefferson both broke records in ASU's first Pac-12 home opener. 

Jefferson had one of OSU’s four best run games in program history, which brings his total to two of those record holding games. 

“He’s got some great vision and patience, and he’s physical,” OSU head coach Jonathan Smith said. “When the line was coming off of the ball, I think the tight end play is there in the run game. The kid is a good player.”

Benjamin proved he shares these qualities as he ran for 185 yards in the first half, which snapped ASU's previous record set in 1973 by Woody Green (171 yards). 

Benjamin also shattered ASU's record for total rushing yards in a game by tallying 312 yards. The previous record was set in 1973 by Ben Malone (250 yards against Oregon State). 

“He doesn’t look big, doesn’t look like he can break tackles, but he does,” ASU head coach Herm Edwards said. “He can run inside. That’s what I like about Eno. He runs inside for the tough yards and finds a way to wiggle and stretch and get his way in his position, and has enough burst to get outside and has pretty good hands. He can catch the ball pretty well … he can do everything a good back needs to do.”

This enabled Benjamin to have 30 carries, which translated to three touchdowns, one of which was 47 yards.

“First of all, you’ve got to have the carries to do it and you have to be willing to run the football,” Edwards said. “We’re willing to run the football … he’s got to make yards and he did…he was fantastic. It was fun to watch him play.”

Benjamin accounted for 312 of ASU's 396 total rushing yards (78 percent).

OSU's Jefferson rushed for an even higher percentage of OSU’s total rushing yards, as he tallied 254 of the Beavers' 261 total rushing yards. 

“I think I did decent,” Jefferson said. “I could have been more physical and more patient. All that matters is that we lost.”

This win was crucial for ASU to come back from back-to-back road losses. The next game for the Sun Devils will be on the road, and as of right now, it seems the run game will be heavily relied on.

With that said, Benjamin can expect to have another busy Saturday. 

“To have a back run for 300 yards any time, that doesn’t happen often,” redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins said. “I’m really proud of him because I know how hard he works in practice. I know the beating his body takes. It’s not easy to get 30 carries a game. Not a lot of people can do that so I’ve got a ton of respect for him, but he’s the first person to know that I’m not going to be all happy, happy with him. It’s time to go back to work and hopefully he does it again.”


Reach the reporter at pburnell@asu.edu or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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