FORT WAYNE – Ricardo Allen suffered an ankle injury late in Purdues Sept. 8 game at Notre Dame.
The junior cornerback said he didnt 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 didnt get the media because I didnt 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 Im out there, I dont 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 didnt 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 Id have to run to the sideline to let the pain ease off to get back in. I wasnt able to plant the way I wanted to, I wasnt able to go as fast as I wanted to.
A healthy Allen had 12 tackles and two pass breakups in Purdues final two regular season wins.
From day one hes 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 wasnt what are we doing wrong, it was what arent we doing? We werent 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 isnt a big crowd. Thats true. Once we started doing that, we started winning. And we made it to a bowl game.
Purduevs. Oklahoma State
What: Heart of Dallas Bowl
When: Noon Jan. 1
Where: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas