Despite an early verbal commitment to Syracuse and talking up the Orange any chance he gets, Zach Allen had not been on campus. That visit was important for Syracuse to keep that commitment solid. Allen spoke about the visit, the impression it left, and his first loss of the season playing at Cowboy Stadium.
"Ever since I've gotten up here, it's been a great experience," Allen explained. "I'm going to be here until later on Monday. I'm still going to get more of the tour and hang out with more players. Everything has been so neat. Getting to the game, seeing the game day atmosphere at Syracuse University and the Carrier Dome, seeing all the fans and pulling off a win.
"Everything has been great and I'm just really excited to be a part of Syracuse next year. The coaching staff is unbelievable with the way they've treated me and the players as well. Everyone's just really excited for me to get down there. It's just going really well right now."
The visit was a long time coming for Allen. His love for Syracuse has been well documented, but the visit actually made him more confident that his decision was the right one.
"The only thing that has changed is I've fallen in love with it more," Allen expressed. "Obviously everything is better in person. It's true for this. The facilities are unbelievable. Better or matching anywhere I've been and anything I've seen. I'm just extremely fired up to be part of Syracuse University."
The trip was not just about the game, however. Allen feels he is getting the full Syracuse experience. Being on campus for three days allowed him to see a lot.
"Saturday I went to the game and then went down into the locker room after the game," Allen described. "I talked to the players and coaches. I got to hang out with the coaches for a while. I went with some of the players and we hung out and had a good time. Just really enjoying everything. It was neat, getting to know those guys better. I hung out with the freshman receivers and some defensive backs. It was neat building a relationship with those guys.
"Everything's been good. Today (Sunday), we went early and did a tour of the whole campus. Then we came back and I did all the meetings with the staff and the players. I watched practice for a little bit. That's pretty much it. It was a lot of fun. Tomorrow, we're doing all the academic stuff. It's all on schedule and we're really enjoying it."
As far as the game on Saturday, Allen was happy to see Syracuse win. He believes Syracuse is ready to go on a big winning streak.
"Stony Brook is a good team," he said. "Not being a division one school, you might think you're going to whoop up on a team. But they were very fundamentally sound. The main thing is that Syracuse pulled off a W. It's something we need to do a lot more. You have to get the first one before you can get the second one. Syracuse is about to go on a roll. They're going to play some big games and upset some big opponents."
Before his visit to Syracuse, Allen had a memorable experience of his own. He led his Temple team into a matchup against the three-time defending state champions in Cowboy Stadium. Despite a 34-0 loss, Allen learned from the experience.
"Obviously playing in Cowboy Stadium was an unbelievable experience," Allen detailed. "Right when you get there it's overwhelming how big it is, how massive it is. The jumbotron goes from 20 to 20. It's just massive. You end up watching the jumbotron when you're not on the field instead of watching the actual game. It's definitely huge, it really is.
"We got there and obviously played a real good Southlake Carroll team. They're the defending state champions. We came out and offensively we played really well. We put up almost 500 yards of offense against one of the best defensive teams in the state, and some say the nation. We shot ourselves in the foot. We had 22 penalties. Every time we were in the red zone, you can't do that. We put up 500 yards but had zero points. We couldn't punch it in.
"They beat us 34-0. It was a really frustrating loss because we dominated Southlake Carroll in every category except for the scoreboard. I threw for 379 yards and ran for 80 but zero touchdowns. Anytime your offense can put up numbers like that and lose, it's extremely frustrating especially putting up zero points."
Allen and Temple High School go back to work to prepare for their next game. They have a bi-week this week, which Allen says they will use to recover from some injuries and prepare for their district schedule. The Temple Wildcats next take the field on September 28th against Shoemaker.