Sidelines with John Clay

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

Mark Stoops says Josh Allen is ‘playing some incredible football’

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops talks about star outside linebacker Josh Allen, who was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. Undefeated UK plays at Texas A&M on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.
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Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops talks about star outside linebacker Josh Allen, who was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. Undefeated UK plays at Texas A&M on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.

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 Kentucky.com Facebook page.

UK linebacker Josh Allen talks about his play against South Carolina on Saturday night. Allen had three sacks and four tackles for loss in the 24-10 victory.



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