TEMPE, ARIZ., SEPT. 30 -- For Washington Redskins running back Gerald Riggs, returning to Sun Devil Stadium tonight was a homecoming of sorts.

Riggs, a former Arizona State University standout, scored a touchdown and rushed for a game-high 95 yards during the Redskins' 38-10 victory over the Phoenix Cardinals.

"It was something special," said Riggs, who sat in the stands before the game and recalled his former teammates and playing days at Arizona State. "It was a plus for me. It was that little push for me. My parents were here watching. For me, it felt like old times. It was great."

Riggs's return coincided with the Redskins getting their struggling running game reestablished.

In addition to Riggs's 19 carries, Earnest Byner rushed for 56 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Washington averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt. The Redskins complemented 179 yards rushing with 257 yards passing in quarterback Stan Humphries' debut.

"We just came out and started to play Redskins football," Humphries said. "We got 'The Hogs' running the football."

Opponents' defensive sets had forced the Redskins to steer away from their running attack.

"Coach {Joe} Gibbs wanted to give us the opportunity to do something and not let {the Cardinals' defense} take us out of our running game," said Riggs, a nine-year pro. "We have an intricate audible system and because of that sometimes we get out of {the called running play}. We didn't let them take us out of it."

That meant Washington often kept two tight ends and two receivers in the game, Gibbs said. "We just put special emphasis on the running game," he said. "We tried to run more."

Washington's offensive line took over from there, particularly dominating the Cardinals' line in the second half. The Redskins gained 128 yards rushing in the second half.

That forced the Cardinals to respect the run, Humphries said. The result was man-to-man coverage against the Redskins' wideouts. Gary Clark twice beat Phoenix cornerback Cedric Mack on 42-yard scoring passes, and totaled eight catches for 162 yards.

"Any time you're playing man-to-man on our guys, it makes it tough on you," said Humphries, who completed 20 of 25 passes.

"The last couple of games, everyone has been on us because of our running game, but you've got to take what they're giving you," said Redskins guard Russ Grimm.

"We ran as much as we could and as often as we could, until we had to pass," Riggs said. "It was hard for {the Cardinals} to stop me because their defense was on the field a lot. I'm sure they were tired."

The Redskins took advantage of Phoenix's fatigue.

"In the latter part of the game, we made some plays that hurt them," said Riggs, whose one-yard scoring run in the second quarter erased Phoenix's 3-0 lead.

"I don't think they quite responded the way they wanted. We were able to keep pounding. The way our line was playing, we will wear some teams down."