Benjamin runs wild, Sun Devils get Edwards 1st Pac-12 win
TEMPE, Ariz. — Add Eno Benjamin to the list of running backs that have very big nights against Oregon State’s creaky run defense.
And for Benjamin, it was a record-breaker.
The sophomore from Wylie, Texas, rushed for a school record 312 yards on 30 carries and scored four touchdowns as Arizona State beat Oregon State 52-24 on Saturday night, giving coach Herm Edwards his first Pac-12 victory.
“He made a bunch of explosive plays tonight,” Edwards said. “It was fun to watch him go.”
Benjamin scored on runs of 44, 47 and 10 yards and caught an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Benjamin spent most of his freshman season watching Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage.
“I really learned from them,” Benjamin said. “I think last year really set me up for something like this.”
Freshman Jermar Jefferson gained 254 yards on 31 attempts and scored twice for Oregon State (1-4, 0-2), becoming the third Beaver in school history to top 200 yards in a game twice in a season.
Benjamin broke the school’s single-game record of 250 yards rushing set by Ben Malone against Oregon State in 1973. Saturday’s performance was No. 8 on the Pac-12 list.
“He reminds me a little bit of Curtis Martin,” Edwards said, “about the same stature, doesn’t look like he can break tackles, but he does.”
The Beavers’ beleaguered defense gave up a second big game in a row on the ground. Arizona’s J.J. Taylor rushed for 284 yards at Oregon State last week.
“The largest topic is just tackling,” Beavers coach Jonathan Smith said. “We just got to get guys on the ground. We had plenty of opportunity at the line of scrimmage, we had a couple on the back field. We got to improve in that area. I don’t know how to say it. We have to finish the deal to get a guy down.”
Oregon State safety Jalen Moore said missed tackles led to Benjamin’s big night.
“Congratulations to him but I felt like we have seen better backs than that,” he said.
The Sun Devils (3-2, 1-1) jumped to a 17-0 lead.
Benjamin scored Arizona State’s first touchdown with a 44-yard run and, on the first play of the second quarter, caught the TD pass from Manny Wilkins.
When Benjamin broke a couple of would-be tackles and raced 47 yards for his, and Arizona State’s, third touchdown of the night, the Sun Devils were up 24-3 and appeared headed for a rout.
But the Beavers have shown this season they can move the ball and scored a pair of touchdowns on Jefferson’s runs of 11 and 27 yards to cut the Arizona State lead to 24-17 with 1:02 left in the half.
That was plenty of time for the Sun Devils, who needed just 48 seconds to go 75 yards in seven plays. Wilkins threw 19 yards to Kyle Williams for the score with 14 seconds left and Arizona State led 31-17 at the break.
Benjamin rushed for 187 yards in 15 carries, the most yards in a half in school history. Woody Green gained 171 yards in a half against Wyoming in 1973.
On their next possession, Wilkins was stopped on a fourth-and-1 play at the Oregon State 40. The Beavers drove downfield and had it fourth-and-goal at the 1. A false start penalty pushed the Beavers back and Blount’s pass fell incomplete.
Benjamin did most of the work again as Arizona State rolled downfield for his 10-yard touchdown run that made it 45-24.
Blount played the entire game at quarterback as Jake Luton missed his second straight game with a high ankle sprain. The Beavers ran their road losing streak to 22 games.
Edwards said Wilkins played despite being “a little under the weather.”
The missed tackles of his defense will give Edwards plenty to talk about with his team in the coming week but it was some kind of night for Benjamin, regardless of who the team was playing.
Arizona State is at Colorado next Saturday.
- Arizona State Sun Devils
- Eno Benjamin
- FBS (I-A)
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - ASU Sun Devils
- FOX Sports Arizona - More News