ASU’s Benjamin keeps humility in spite of record-setting season

Nov 13, 2018, 1:47 PM

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

ASU running back Eno Benjamin hasn’t even played in two full seasons yet, but he’s already breaking records.

In Arizona State’s last home game against UCLA, Eno Benjamin set the new school single-season rushing yards record during the Pac-10/12 era. The previous record was set in 2006 by Ryan Torain, who ran for 1,229 yards that season.

Though an impressive feat by all standards, offensive coordinator Rob Likens said he made sure to give Benjamin a hard time about the rather specific record.

“I don’t really understand the record that he broke,” Likens said. “So you broke a record that’s really not a record that’s kinda a record? He just kind of dug his head.”

Through 10 games, Benjamin has run for 1,295 yards on 227 rushes. He has also scored 12 rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns.

Because of his excellent season, it would be easy for Benjamin to become overconfident. Likens said this isn’t the case in the slightest.

“I’ve never heard him say one thing bragging about himself ever,” Likens said. “He handles it like a pro. He’s just such a great kid.

“Gives praise to the offensive line and goes about his business.”

Before Benjamin took the starting job this season, the running back position was a two-headed weapon. Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage both made the most of their respective ASU careers. Richard got more starts in the backfield, but Ballage got his fair share of carries and also was a force in the return game.

Backing Richard and Ballage up for a season benefited Benjamin, according to Likens.

“One thing about Demario is on Saturday I wouldn’t want to tackle that guy,” Likens said. “Eno’s running style kind of depicts that kind of toughness.

“The thing that I think he got from Kalen is in the open field. Kalen was a really fast, athletic guy; we threw swing routes to him. He’s kind of a great mixture between those two guys.”

With two regular season games and a bowl game now guaranteed, Benjamin has a chance to break Arizona State’s all-time single-season rushing record. That record was set by Woody Green in 1972 when he ran for 1,565 yards.

Trailing the record by 270 yards, Benjamin needs to average 90 yards in his last three games (if ASU doesn’t win the Pac-12 South) to break the record. If he continues with his pace of rushing for 129.5 yards per game, he won’t have a problem.

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