Two games into the 2014 season, USC running back Javorius "Buck" Allen has shown flashbacks of another running back with the last name Allen that played for the Trojans from 1978-81. Yes, I am talking about Marcus Allen, the 1981 Heisman Trophy winner. That comparison may be a little crazy, but Buck Allen has been quite impressive this year.
After redshirting in 2011 and playing sparingly in 2012, Allen burst onto the scene during the second half of the season last year, starting with the Oregon State game when he ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.
Over the final six games of the season, he finally found himself on the field due to injuries to running backs Silas Redd and Tre Madden. And Buck Allen took advantage of the opportunity. He ran for 648 yards with 12 touchdowns while averaging a eye-opening 6.11 yards per carry.
One of the biggest storylines for the Trojans during Fall Camp was who would establish themselves as the starting running back as Allen, Madden and Justin Davis all fought for the No. 1 position. Allen and Madden were looking at splitting carries entering the final week of camp when Madden suffered a toe injury. Since then, Allen’s been slotted as the feature back.
Buck Allen started his 2014 campaign by rushing for 133 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries n USC’s 52-13 victory over Fresno State. The Trojans' offensive line gave Allen some huge holes throughout the game, but when there wasn’t a hole, he still found a way to get six or seven yards.
Allen faced a tougher task in week two against a Stanford defense that allowed only 89.7 rushing yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry in 2013. The 2014 Stanford defense is different after losing multiple starters, but is still a physical defense that crowds the box.
In the first half, Buck Allen rushed for 69 yards as the Trojans went to halftime down three. On the Trojans' fourth play of their third drive of the second half, Allen ran left and saw there was no hole so he cut back and ran down the middle for 50 yards to set up the game-tying field goal. He has been seen as a bruiser type of back but showed his burst of speed on that play.
Allen finished the game with 154 yards on 23 carries -- the second-most yards allowed by a David Shaw-led Stanford team. He is 10th in the nation with 287 yards through two games.
Steve Sarkisian’s up-tempo offense saw Bishop Sankey gain 3,319 yards in two years as the starting tailback at Washington, so a 1,200-yard season from Allen in 2014 is reachable. If Allen finishes with more than 1,200 yards, it would be the most by a Trojan rusher since Reggie Bush and LenDale White had 1,740 and 1,302 in 2005.
But rather than the most recent USC Heisman Trophy winner, Buck Allen reminds me a lot of former Trojan Stafon Johnson (2007-10). Both running backs do a great job of fighting through the tackles and showing quick a burst of speed that you don’t expect to see from 220-pound backs.
The Trojans travel to Boston College on Saturday and the Eagles are allowing 178.5 rushing yards per game this year. Expect another good performance from Buck Allen .