Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MU FOOTBALL ; Allen's Emergence with Herd Is Turning Heads

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MU FOOTBALL ; Allen's Emergence with Herd Is Turning Heads

Article excerpt

MARSHALL at MIDDLE TENNEESSEE

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: Root Sports

Line: Middle Tennessee by 3 INSIDE: MU-MTSU rivalry builds

5B

HUNTINGTON - In his three-decade coaching career, Doc Holliday has tutored wide receivers for almost two decades off and on while at West Virginia and North Carolina State. So when he sized up Davonte Allen's performance last weekend, the analysis came with experience.

"That's about as good a performance I've seen in a wideout, Holliday said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "I've coached those guys for 18 years and had a lot of good ones, but that's about as good a performance as I've seen from that position.

Allen caught 12 passes for 232 yards in the Thundering Herd's 34- 10 win over Charlotte, which blazed a nice trail in MU's receiving history. The yardage figure is sixth all-time, and is the most since 2002, when Josh Davis riddled Appalachian State for 264.

Allen and his fellow receivers return to action Saturday when Marshall (8-1, 5-0 Conference USA) takes on Middle Tennessee (3-5, 2- 2) at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. EST.

Beginning with a 43-yard catch on MU's first play and continuing with a 66-yard touchdown, Allen blew away his previous personal high of 141 yards by the end of the first quarter.

He nearly doubled his season receiving yards to 478, and took the team lead in receptions with 38. He wasn't necessarily getting cheated on targets before last Saturday, but he and Chase Litton had trouble hooking up on longer routes.

Allen entered the game averaging less than 10 yards per catch, neither common nor welcome for an "X receiver.

So what was different? Was it quality of opponent, or simple improvement in chemistry with Litton, the freshman who was starting his seventh game? Or something else?

"He played extremely well against [Florida Atlantic] and I think he had only three catches [two, actually], Holliday said. "He was a captain after that game because of how hard he went, how well he played.

"Finally, I think what flipped the switch is we gave him opportunities to make plays, and he made them.

Wide receivers coach Mike Furrey quantified those opportunities. …

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