FORT WAYNE – Ricardo Allen suffered an ankle injury late in Purdue’s Sept. 8 game at Notre Dame.
The junior cornerback said he didn’t feel like he was back to full strength until Nov. 17 at Illinois.
Allen missed one game (at Ohio State) and was limited in others, but was still one of the top corners in the conference as he earned All-Big Ten honors for the third straight season. Allen was named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. He received honorable mention by the media.
It means a lot that I was voted second-team all conference by the coaches, Allen said following a practice as Purdue prepped for the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Boilermakers face Oklahoma State on Jan. 1 at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. Coaches actually notice what I do. I didn’t get the media because I didn’t necessarily have the stats. I got the honor by the coaches, it means they actually notice what I do on film.
Allen is sixth on the team with 44 tackles. He has one interception, one sack and one pass breakup. He returned the one interception, Sept. 29 against Marshall, 39 yards for a touchdown. It was his fourth career interception return for a score, a Purdue record.
Me being hurt a lot, it bothered me a lot, Allen said. But when I’m out there, I don’t get many balls my way. Everybody might say I had a down year, but I feel like I had a pretty good year because I didn’t give up many catches.
The injury limited Allen in several ways.
That killed me, going into the last drive of the Notre Dame game was when I went down, he said. All the work I did that game, I felt like my presence on the field helped us out. Watching our team lose by three points, that killed me on the inside.
And every other game I would be playing and then I would be hit in the leg or something like that and I’d have to run to the sideline to let the pain ease off to get back in. I wasn’t able to plant the way I wanted to, I wasn’t able to go as fast as I wanted to.
A healthy Allen had 12 tackles and two pass breakups in Purdue’s final two regular season wins.
From day one he’s been a fighter, Purdue senior defensive tackle Kawann Short said. When he first came in, he was the young guy working hard. The coaches pointed out, this is what we need in practice.’ Watching him grow has been a tremendous sight to see.
Allen is proud of the way the team rallied to get to a bowl for a second straight year.
It means a lot, Allen said. We go out here every day and work really hard. It was always our question, what are we doing wrong? At the end, it wasn’t what are we doing wrong, it was what aren’t we doing? We weren’t pushing the extra mile.
I felt like at the end of the year, we all started pushing the extra mile. Our coaches always say on the extra mile, it isn’t a big crowd.’ That’s true. Once we started doing that, we started winning. And we made it to a bowl game.