Lost in the celebration on Saturday night was the long run for Arizona State University running back Eno Benjamin.
“He’s a very talented player,” said N’Keal Harry, who caught the game-tying touchdown pass in the Sun Devils upset of No. 13 Michigan State. “You can see that in the way he runs the ball, he runs the ball extremely hard. Players like that, if they’re being contained, through the game, it’s just a matter of time before they get theirs.”
Benjamin finished the game with 13 carries for 27 yards. He finally broke through on the game-winning drive, catching a swing pass and running 25 yards to convert a third down and eight.
“I think what I was thinking was if I can catch the ball, I knew there would be space,” said Benjamin after practice on Tuesday. “I think Kyle (Williams) did a great job picking up that guy coming over the top and I just knew I had to catch the ball and there would be big time room."
Benjamin’s biggest contribution seemed to happen during a timeout as kicker Brandon Ruiz trotted onto the field for the game-winning field goal.
“Eno came up and said, 'I love you no matter what,'” said Ruiz, who kicked the game winner.
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Ruiz was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week after his game-winner, the third time he’s won that honor in his career.
“I actually met Brandon, two years ago now, at the Under Armour All-American Game,” said Benjamin about Ruiz. “I was trying to reach out to him and get him to come to ASU. He was committed to Alabama at the time. I just said, ‘Go out there and do what you do.’ He’s in the position that he’s in because the team trusts him and the coaches trust him too.”
It’s hard to decide is Benjamin has a bigger impact with his punishing running style or his way with words.
“Ever since he’s been here he’s been one of the best recruiters on our team,” said Rob Likens, ASU’s offensive coordinator. “He came in and signed early and got here in January and helped recruit on all the official kids. He’s just been like our ambassador since the day he walked on this campus.”
This week, Benjamin will try to help ASU keep the train on the tracks. The Sun Devils are ranked 23rd. It’s the first time the program has appeared in the top 25 since 2015. Benjamin and company visit San Diego State on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
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