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Allen readies to face Irish receivers once again

Matthew DeFranks | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Irish senior receiver TJ Jones and Purdue senior cornerback Ricardo Allen go way back.

In Jones’ first game at Notre Dame, he was facing Allen a true-freshman cornerback in his first game as a Boilermaker.

Allen tallied five tackles but the Irish claimed a 23-12 win to kick off the 2010 season. Jones scored his first career touchdown and racked up 41 receiving yards on three catches.

Jones has gone up against Allen and the Boilermakers three times, posting 11 catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns. Jones said Allen has covered him a fair bit the past three seasons.

“It’s a game,” he said. “He’s a scrappy player. He’s a good DB by all means. It’s definitely a game that if you don’t pay attention to your details, he’s going to take advantage of it and run with it.”

Jones said playing against Allen three previous times does not have much of an impact on this week’s matchup.

“I don’t think it gives anyone an advantage,” he said. “With every year, players develop, they mature, they learn new things about their game, they learn new things about how to read other players. I go into it like I do any other game, you just be prepared to do the best that you can, like I’m sure he’s doing, and you see how the game plays out.”

In his time at Purdue, Allen has appeared in all 40 games for the Boilermakers and has eight interceptions, four of which he brought back for touchdowns.

“Ricardo Allen is a corner that’s been there, a kid that competes,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “We’ve seen him for a number of years, veteran corner.”

The Daytona Beach, Fla., native has 19 tackles, 1.5 for loss and a forced fumble in his three games against the Irish, all Purdue losses.

Allen’s four interception returns for touchdowns are a Purdue school record and he leads all active players in the category. He is one interception return touchdown shy from tying the NCAA record.

“You’ve got to be on time,” Kelly said. “If you lay some balls out there that are not on time, he gets great breaks on the ball – and he’s very competitive. He wants the ball thrown his way.”

Kelly said senior quarterback Tommy Rees will need to be accurate with his throws against Allen. In his Irish career, Rees has thrown 26 interceptions but none against Purdue. He has also only started one game against the Boilermakers, in 2011.

“[Allen]’s a very competitive kid,” Kelly said. “He’s got very good ball skills, and like I said, if you’re lazy with the ball, if your routes are not precise, he’ll take the ball from you. So you better be on top of your game.”

Contact Matthew DeFranks at [email protected]