Sidelines with John Clay

Josh Allen bringing to mind another UK defensive star from New Jersey

Josh Allen is going to need a bigger trophy case.

UK’s stellar outside linebacker/defensive end picked up his third SEC Defensive Player of the Week award on Monday after recording three sacks in the Cats’ 24-10 takedown of South Carolina on Saturday night.

Remember, the college football season is just 5 weeks old.

Allen “is playing some incredible football,” said UK Coach Mark Stoops on Monday, who then stopped himself from kicking the praise meter up a notch before settling for he’s “playing as well as I’ve seen.”

On the season, Allen has six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. He has 33 tackles overall, third on the team behind linebacker Kash Daniel and safety Darius West, who have 37 tackles each.

The week before, in UK’s 28-7 win over Mississippi State, Allen was all but unblockable, chasing Bulldogs’ quarterback Nick Fitzgerald afterward. Asked to compare the two performances, Allen said he preferred his South Carolina game. “I got some sacks in this one,” he said.

This Kentucky football team is doing some things that haven’t been done since the 1977 team went 10-1. The 2018 team is the first to start 3-0 in the SEC since that 1977 team. This 2018 team is the first to beat back-to-back ranked opponents since that 1977 team.

And that 1977 team was led by an outstanding defensive end from New Jersey named Art Still. Allen is from Montclair, N.J. Still is from Camden, N.J.

Still was a consensus All-American in 1977 who went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL — 1978-87 with the Kansas City Chiefs; 1988-89 with the Buffalo Bills. He made the Pro Bowl four times and is in the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame.

So I’m not ready to put Allen in the Art Still category quite yet. Still might have been the greatest defensive player to ever pull on a Kentucky uniform. Instead, let’s just say Josh Allen is starting to make it a conversation.

Watch Mark Stoops’ entire press conference previewing Saturday’s game with Texas A&M at the Facebook page.

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