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ASU football’s offense comes alive late, upsets Michigan State

Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry (1) is taken down by Michigan State safety David Dowell (6), cornerback Justin Layne (2) and linebacker Andrew Dowell (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

ASU head coach Herm Edwards didn’t watch as Brandon Ruiz attempted the game-winning field goal against No. 15 Michigan State.

But even without the conductor looking, the train rolled on.

Ruiz made the field goal to give the Sun Devils a 16-13 win. ASU is now 10-0 at home all-time against Big Ten teams.

The Sun Devils found its offense late after struggling to progress down the field against Michigan State for much of the game.

Running back Eno Benjamin, who at the time had just 11 carries for 17 yards to his name, had one final slip-up when leading ASU on its final drive.

After a six-yard run, he got a handoff with a little more than two minutes remaining in the fourth. Benjamin had room.

But, while making a stutter-step, he slipped and tried to dive toward the first-down marker. He inadvertently flipped as he dove, and it took an official’s ruling to decide that he made it to the line.

First down.

As Michigan State ran out of timeouts, ASU took a knee and ran out the clock to overcome what had once been a 13-3 deficit.

Benjamin finished the game with 13 carries for 27 yards.

Wide receiver N’Keal Harry was also slow to get going, but a 27-yard touchdown to tie the game in the fourth quarter gave him a stat line ASU is more accustomed to seeing from their star: six receptions for 89 yards and the TD.

Kyle Williams might have outplayed Harry. He caught seven passes for 104 yards, including a 38-yard catch immediately preceding Harry’s touchdown.

After Wilkins had struggled to connect with receivers deep, he completing a 65-yard drive in about 15 seconds with the long connections to Williams to Harry, tying the game at 13.

The ASU defense, meanwhile, managed to contain Michigan State to just three first-half points.

It looked like the Spartans would be able to pull ahead by 10 early. In the red zone, quarterback Brian Lewerke faced pressure and slightly overthrew his target.

The tight end tipped it. Defensive back Demonte King knocked it skyward. Dasmond Tautalatasi got under it and caught it, negating the threat.

Safety Jalen Harvey led the team with 10 tackles, all solo.

Merlin Robertson, a true freshman, had nine tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

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