Allen emerges as one of Oregon’s top targets
PULLMAN, Wash. — When Devon Allen took off for Oregon’s first touchdown, there were no hurdles in front of him.
“Just green grass,” the Oregon redshirt freshman wide receiver said. “It was a great ball by Marcus in the open field and that is what I do. I just run.”
Allen caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota in the first quarter and later added a 13-yard score to help Oregon defeat Washington State 38-31 Saturday night at Martin Stadium.
The NCAA 110-meter hurdle champion last spring is now a breakaway threat for the Ducks in football as he finished with seven catches for 142 yards and two scores against the Cougars.
“Devon Allen is a stud,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “Between Devon and all those guys, we have big-play capability which so happened to be him on a couple plays tonight.”
Allen matched his total catches from the first three games against WSU and now has 14 catches for 299 yards, an average of 21.4 per catch, on the season. Five of his 14 receptions have gone for a touchdown.
“I didn’t really know what to expect for college football because I had not played yet,” Allen said. “Now that I am getting in the flow of things it is like the football I have been playing for 14 years.”
Oregon punted on its first two possessions and trailed 7-0 before Mariota found Allen streaking down the field on the first play of Oregon’s third drive for a tying touchdown.
“When you can switch momentum, that gives you a little edge and gives the defense and offense confidence,” Allen said. “It gets you going.”
Allen gave Oregon its first lead when he snagged a 13-yard touchdown pass to put the Ducks ahead 21-14 with 8:05 left in the first half.
“We just schemed that all week,” Allen said. “It happened exactly how it was supposed to happen. An easy pitch and catch.”
Allen averaged just more than 20 yards per catch against the Cougars, who often needed a couple defenders to bring him down. Following a few of his receptions, WSU defenders held on to him and tried to strip the ball out, but Oregon went without a turnover for the third game in a row and still has just one on the season.
“We practice every day to make sure we keep the ball high and tight,” Allen said. “In the beginning of practice we jump on the ground and roll around and get up without losing leverage on the ball. It becomes habit, which is why we don’t have too many turnovers.”
Allen was part of a Pac-12 Conference victory for the first time as the Ducks broke a 31-31 tie in the fourth quarter on Mariota’s touchdown pass to Keanon Lowe.
“Every team in the Pac-12 is a good team,” Allen said. “In league play, we have to be prepared to play each week against a great team.”