Josh Allen leads Kentucky defense in win over South Carolina


Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Josh Allen (41) flexes after a play during the game against South Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 24 to 10. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Not to beat a dead horse, but Josh Allen is decent at football.

Eight total tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, caused one fumble and one quarterback hurry in Kentucky’s 24-10 win over South Carolina will prove that.

The senior had yet another standout game, just days after Kentucky Athletics posted a video campaigning Allen for the NFL Draft. The six-foot, 260-pounder is the first UK player with three sacks in an SEC game since 1998. He’s also now the first UK player with four tackles for loss in any game since 1998.  

Allen seemed to have taken over in the second half, and according head coach Mark Stoops, “he has a tendency to do that.” All three of Allen’s sacks were in the second half.

“You get him in predictable pass and he’s very hard to block,” Stoops said. “And they were chipping at him and as they should.”

Stoops says that he hasn’t coached a better edge rusher than Allen.

“He’s really a dominant player and he’s exceptional on his feet as well. Yeah, half the time I do want to look at, wonder why in the world I’m dropping him sometimes because he’s not blockable,” Stoops said. “But he’s dang good in coverage as well. He really disrupts things.”

Being 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC, the Cats still have kept their poise and have remained humble. Despite filling up the stat sheets against the Gamecocks, Allen still credits his teammates immensely, and says when he’s up against someone one-on-one he needs to come out on the winning side for his team.

“Gotta win. Can’t lose. I can’t lose for my brothers, can’t lose for my team, can’t lose for the fans,” Allen said. “Any play I can pass rush, that’s my mentality.”

While Kentucky has threats on all levels of their defense, Allen says Kentucky has one of the top secondaries in the nation.

“The best corners, the best safeties, and I feel like with them back there, I feel like they give me more time to do what I do. And I know when I put pressure on them (South Carolina), that makes their job a lot easier,” Allen said. “We play off each other. When they’re doing good, I’m doing good. And when I’m doing good, they’re doing good.”

Kentucky running back Benny Snell says he would never block a guy like Allen, and says if he had to go up against him he would cut at his legs every time instead of taking the one-on-one. Jordan Jones, Kentucky linebacker, called Allen a “freak,” and says he’s a “selfless person.”

In such a physical game, the Wildcats seemed resilient and didn’t look like they were wearing down in the fourth quarter. Allen agrees.

“Big time players make big time plays in big time games, and that’s what I did tonight, “ Allen said.