Sun Devils beat Oregon State in first Pac-12 win of the season

Sep 29, 2018, 11:36 PM | Updated: Sep 30, 2018, 11:08 am
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards watches during the second half of the team's NCAA college football...
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards watches during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Oregon State on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona State Sun Devils returned home for a conference game at Sun Devil Stadium, hosting a 1-3 Oregon State team that came in as a three-touchdown underdog.

Warm temperatures heated up the natural playing surface once again, but that didn’t slow down running back Eno Benjamin and the rushing attack, as the Sun Devils had their way with the Beavers early on.

Benjamin had 11 carries for 113 yards in the first quarter, including a 44-yard burst for a touchdown as the Sun Devils got out to an early 17-0 lead. Quarterback Manny Wilkins also connected with Benjamin for an eight-yard touchdown.

That wouldn’t be the last time Benjamin found the end zone in the first half. He broke off another one in the second quarter. The Sun Devils were facing 3rd-and-3 as Benjamin shook a tackle and scampered 47 yards for the score to give ASU a 24-3 lead.

Oregon State would answer with a couple of touchdown drives led by quarterback Connor Blount. Beavers running back Jermar Jefferson had an 11-yard touchdown, and then a 27-yard touchdown run to get OSU within a touchdown. ASU and Manny Wilkins answered quickly before halftime as he found Kyle Williams wide open in the end zone for the score.

ASU took a 31-17 lead into the locker room. Eno Benjamin’s 185 first-half rushing yards set a school record, but he didn’t stop there. The Sun Devils came out with a defensive stop to start the second half, and then expanded on the lead with a six-yard touchdown run from N’Keal Harry. Later in the third quarter, Oregon State answered to get within 14 points, then held on a short 4th-and-2, trying to gain some momentum.

Oregon State drove all the way down to the one-yard line but a false start penalty backed up the Beavers. They opted to go for it and defensive back Chase Lucas made a play on the ball, breaking up the pass.

Arizona State cruised through the fourth quarter on their way to a 52-24 victory, as the Sun Devils move to 3-2 on the season. Benjamin finished with a school single-game rushing record of 312 yards on 30 touches. He also totaled four touchdowns in the game.

“I can’t put this feeling into words, sitting out last year helped me learn, and now that I’m in this position it’s a great feeling,” Benjamin said after the win.

The record broke the previous mark set by Ben Malone in 1973.

Head coach Herm Edwards has been known throughout his coaching career for attacking defenses with the running game, and the Sun Devils were more effective tonight than they have been through the first five games of the season.

“We talked last week about being a dominant run team,” Edwards said. “Our offense is more explosive when we can run the ball. I like running the ball so we can control the clock.”

Edwards also weighed in on the night Benjamin had, and even made a comparison to a former running back of the New York Jets, where Edwards coached from 2001-05.

“He reminds me of Curtis Martin, similar stature, he can do everything a good back can do,” Edwards said.

Another key stat for the Sun Devils was they only had one penalty. A delay of game while trying to run out the clock in the fourth quarter. Penalties had hurt the Sun Devils in the previous two games.

Up next is another huge road test, as the Sun Devils travel to Boulder to take on the Colorado Buffalos. Colorado is 4-0, coming off a home win over UCLA on Friday night.

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