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ASU football’s offense comes to life against USC

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After a couple of difficult weeks that contributed to losses, the ASU football offense woke up on Saturday against USC.

The Sun Devils (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12) put up 450 yards of offense, including 95 receiving yards and two total touchdowns from wide receiver N’Keal Harry, in a 38-35 road win over the Trojans on Saturday.

“We’ve been on the wrong side of a lot of these games,” ASU head coach Herm Edwards said after the game. “It was fun to just watch these guys come into the locker room, beating a good football team in USC, a very talented group of players, and you think about what they had to beat.”

It was USC’s first home loss under coach Clay Helton.

ASU scored a pair of touchdowns in the opening quarter, besting its point total against Stanford last week (13) in the first nine minutes against the Trojans.

The first touchdown was a 44-yard strike from quarterback Manny Wilkins to Harry.

It was a refreshing connection for the two considering Harry hadn’t caught a touchdown pass from Wilkins since Sept. 29 against Oregon State.

A USC turnover set up the Sun Devils inside the 10-yard line on their next drive, which was finished off by a 3-yard touchdown run from running back Eno Benjamin.

The Sun Devils outgained the Trojans 172 to 29 in the first quarter.

A 31-yard field goal got ASU on the board in the second quarter before the Sun Devils put together one of their best drives of the season.

ASU went 95 yards, capped off by a 49-yard touchdown run from Benjamin, to extend their lead to 24-7 with 6:12 left in the first half.

The Sun Devils finished with 286 total yards in the first half and 24 points, the team’s most since their win over Oregon State.

Benjamin had 125 yards and two touchdowns while Wilkins completed 9-of-15 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.

ASU led USC, 24-14, at halftime.

“I told the guys before the game started, ‘whatever we do today, we are not going to look at the scoreboard,” Edwards said. “We go into halftime, I said ‘don’t look at the scoreboard, at the end we are going to win this game.'”

The offense slowed at times in the second half, but showed up when it mattered most.

Harry returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown to give ASU a 31-28 lead with 2:54 left in the third quarter.

ASU iced the game late when Manny Wilkins rushed for a 45-yard touchdown with 1:23 to put the Sun Devils up 38-28.

“They just kept fighting,” Edwards said. “That’s what these kids have done all year, they have fought and I’m proud of them for that. I really am.”

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