LOS ANGELES -- USC tailback Buck Allen has been patient in waiting for his opportunity in a crowded Trojans backfield.
After carrying the ball only six times for 32 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2012, Allen made a lot of strides on the practice field in spring ball and in fall camp, in particular, when injuries often left him as the only healthy tailback option. Allen proved he was ready to see the field but by the time the season opener rolled around, other backs were healthy and Allen was again a reserve.
Allen did have a memorable run late in the game against Hawaii near the goal line when he ran over a defender. He ran hard against Boston College, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. But still his carries were limited.
Little did Allen know that another Allen was paying attention to what he was doing. An Allen who knows something about biding his time while not being a primary ball-carrier.
When 1981 Heisman winner Marcus Allen addressed the Trojans in the days leading up the game against Arizona, he said, “Where’s Buck Allen?”
Buck Allen raised his hand, amazed that Marcus Allen knew his name.
“I love the way you run, man,” Marcus Allen said. “Your time is going to come. Just stay patient and wait for your opportunity.”
Needless to say, it was a memorable moment for the current Trojans sophomore.
“It was an honor to see him,” Buck Allen said. “Someone who knows USC football so well and has accomplished so much, and then to hear him say my name, that touched me inside. It made me feel real good. I’ve worked hard and to hear him say he liked the way I play, it was a moment I’ll always remember.”
Allen went out against the Wildcats and ran for 37 yards and a pair of touchdowns. One scoring run went for 20 yards but the more notable score came on a dive over the top from the four-yard line that had USC fans invoking the name of another former legendary USC back.
“Yeah, I’ve heard from a lot of people who said it looked like Sam Cunningham,” Allen said. “I didn’t know he did that but I do now. It’s not something I’ve ever done before but I just trusted my instincts and it worked.”
Those instincts will come in handy with Allen getting a bigger workload with the rotation of backs the Trojans used against Arizona.
“I’m comfortable with my game, I’m comfortable with my plays. It feels good to be able to carry the ball.”