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Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin in no mood to celebrate record

Eno Benjamin capped his sophomore year by breaking the Arizona State single-season rushing record.

But he was in no mood to talk about it.

“That doesn’t even matter right now,” he said Saturday after the Sun Devils’ 31-20 loss to Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Benjamin had 118 yards rushing and a touchdown to finish the season with 1,642 yards. He broke Woody Green’s school record of 1,565 yards set in 1972 on a 13-yard run early in the second quarter and scored on a 17-yard carry on the next play.

The Earl Campbell-Tyler Rose Award Finalist added 16 yards on two catches, but struggled with the rest of the offense as the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half. Benjamin managed only 26 yards on nine carries after halftime when Fresno State put the clamps on the Sun Devils’ offense.

“They put an extra guy in the box for the most part (in the second half) and just made some good plays,” Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said. “They adjusted, but I think we missed some opportunities. I don’t want to take anything away from them. They’re a good football team. Look, they won 12 games. They’ve won 20-something games in two years.”

Edwards knows what he has in the 5-foot-10-inch, 200-pound spark plug.

“His effort, his second effort, his ability every week to focus in on what he needs to do, the extra time he spends in the building (are all things we’ve seen consistently),” Edwards said of the first-team All-Pac 12 selection. “A guy like Eno in pro football we call a pro’s pro. He’s constantly in the office learning. He sits with the offensive line. All those things are a credit to his work ethic.”

Benjamin said he wanted to do more to help his team win its final game. Instead, his record-breaking run came during the most lopsided loss of the season for the Sun Devils.

It certainly wasn’t his fault.

“We were in the game because of our ability to run the football,” Edwards said. “I guess (Benjamin) broke a record today. It’s too bad it came on a loss, but his effort all season said something about the direction that we’re heading.”

Moments after leaving the field, Benjamin still was unsure when he would start appreciating those accolades.

“I have a long time to think about that. Right now, I’m just disappointed,” he said.

Benjamin will start to see the fruits of his success when the Campbell award ceremony takes place Jan. 9 in Tyler, Texas, about 90 minutes from his hometown of Wylie.

“It is a great honor,” Benjamin said last week after a practice. “I try not to think about those things, though. I just want to go out there and do my job and everything will fall into place. I have just enjoyed this season playing with these guys.”

He just didn’t enjoy how it ended.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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