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Evans, Eastern Michigan run past Arizona St. 30-21

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Samson Evans ran 35 times for 257 yards and a touchdown and Eastern Michigan never trailed in beating Arizona State 30-21 Saturday night.

Evans posted his first 100-yard game — he had 96 by halftime — as the Mid-American Conference’s Eagles easily handled the Sun Devils of the Pac-12.

The Eagles (2-1) scored on four of their five first-half possessions, with only an interception stopping the Eastern offense. Arizona State, meanwhile, didn’t get a first down until late in the first quarter, when they were already behind 10-0.

Xazavian Valladay’s 44-yard touchdown run with 10:48 to play cut Eastern Michigan’s lead to 27-21 early in the fourth quarter. But Evans ran 32 yards on third-and-1 to give the Eagles a first down at the ASU 34. Evans carried on seven consecutive plays on the drive, which led to Jesus Gomez’s third field goal, a 20-yarder to make it 30-21 with 4:24 to go.

Taylor Powell started at quarterback for the Eagles and completed 10 of 14 before being replaced by Smith in the second quarter.

The Eagles scored on their opening drive on Gomez’s 27-yard field goal. Jaylon Jackson’s 4-yard touchdown run capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils went three-and-out in their first two series.

The Sun Devils defense stepped in to help. Kejuan Markham intercepted Powell’s pass at midfield and returned it to the Eagles’ 22.

A personal foul on the first play gave ASU its initial first down of the game at the EMU 7 as time ran down in the first quarter. The Sun Devils scored on the first play of the second period when Emory Jones connected with Andre Johnson for a 3-yard touchdown.

But the Eagles went on another long drive, capped by Austin Smith’s 6-yard TD pass to Hassan Beydoun. ASU responded with its best drive of the half, going 75 yards in 11 play and Jones, finding no one open, scrambled 3 yards for the score to make it 17-14.

Smith stayed in at QB, completing a third-down pass for 42 yards to Tanner Knue. That set up Evans’ 3-yard TD run.

The Eagles ran for 154 yards and threw for 153 before halftime and had 47 plays to Arizona State’s 23. They converted nine times in 10 third-down chances in the first half and did not punt until early in the fourth quarter.

POWERING UP

Saturday’s win is the fourth over a Power 5 conference team under coach Chris Creighton. The Eagles beat Rutgers in 2017, Purdue in 2018 and Illinois in 2019.

THE TAKEAWAY

Eastern Michigan: Smith, the backup QB, ran for 60 yards and threw for 60 in the first half, proving to be a solid alternative for Powell, who has battled knee issues this season.

Arizona State: After a slow start, Valladay ran for 127 yards — his third straight game over 100. He was held to 16 yards in the first half.

UP NEXT

Eastern Michigan: Hosts Buffalo in the Eagles’ MAC opener on Saturday.

Arizona State: Opens Pac-12 play against Utah Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

JACK THOMPSON
Associated Press

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