Syracuse commit Zach Allen was just fine utilizing the run game on Friday. As the team put up 55 points in a seven point victory, they relied extensively on the running game with nearly 500 yards on the ground. It was another big district win for Temple.
"We knew going into the game that Ellison was going to be hungry for the win," Allen explained. "They had zero wins on the season and they had just lost a triple overtime or double overtime game. So we knew they were going to come out strong and excited to get their first win. We worked on execution all week and worked on playing a faceless opponent, which our coaches said. So we don't play down to anyone, we play up no matter who we're playing.
"We really worked on that all week and it came out big for us. We put 55 points on the board against a good Ellison defense."
The key to the victory was the rushing attack. Allen had a career game on the ground, and Temple was able to come away with the win.
"The offensive line, I give all the credit to the offensive line this week," he described. "They got a great push all night for the running game. They protected me in the passing game and we put up 55 points together. They blocked extremely well.
"I had a career-high night in rushing. I had 200 yards rushing in the game and about 150 passing. I hurt my shoulder early in the first half, so we just tried to keep the ball on the ground as much as we could. It was good because our offensive line was getting a good push. We were all happy with it. We had three backs over 150 yards including myself. It was a big one for us. I had zero rushing touchdowns. I got to the 5-yard line three times."
This week, Allen is preparing for Harker Heights. It is a critical district matchup, as both teams have only one loss in district play.
"We're playing a very good Harker Heights team," Allen said. "Their tied with us for district in second play. We're both 3-1. So this game is going to decide a lot on who makes the playoffs and who decides their own fate. So this would be a big win for us.
"We're really going to have to focus and really work on doing everything right this week because we know they have the best defense in the district. We have to work on making sure everyone does their own thing and does it right. So we have to play as a team to overcome a tough Harker Heights defense."
Syracuse also got a big win Friday night. While he was unable to watch the game due to playing in his own, Allen saw the highlights and was happy about the victory.
"It was a huge win," he declared. "It's tough to get wins so you have to celebrate when you can. Putting up 40-points and beating a good UConn team, it was huge. It was huge for the offense. They had relied on the defense a little and had not put up the points that they had been used to. I think they owe it all to working hard in practice this week.
"From talking to Coach Hackett, they really worked on doing everything right. Fixing things in the redzone and no turnovers. That's what they got was no turnovers and things working well in the redzone. If you do that, you're more than likely going to win. And that's what happened."
Allen talks to Nathaniel Hackett every week. Those conversations are important to the Temple High product as their relationship develops.
"We talk every week to see how the games went," Allen described. "Both sides, how we did and how Syracuse did. Just game plans, talking, building the relationship, and continue to build. Just checking in on each other and see how each other is doing.
"Mostly it's him checking on me and me checking on him. Just see how things are going and getting to know each other better."