A year ago the then-true freshman Texas A&M quarterback was standing on the sidelines watching Kenny Hill throw for a school-record 511 yards and three-touchdowns in an upset win over ninth-ranked South Carolina.
But as they say, everything happens for a reason.
Hill struggled both on and off the field and eventually head coach Kevin Sumlin turned the keys over to the former Scottsdale Desert Mountain High standout in early November. Allen burst onto the national stage leading the Aggies to 41-38 win over third-ranked Auburn and capped the year being named game MVP after his five-touchdown performance against West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl.
Through the good, the bad and at times disappointing, Allen’s approach to the mental and physical grind of the SEC season never changed.
“There’s not really one way to handle it,” Allen told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat recently. “The way I did it was just sit back and kind of enjoy myself…on Sunday’s not focus on football at all.”
Allen said he would watch game tape on Sunday but tried to put football on the back-burner towards the back-end of the weekend to prevent “over-fatigue.” The routine helped clear his mind before refocusing on practice and the Aggies’ next opponent on Monday.
Through it all the 2014 rollercoaster wasn’t always easy for the quarterback who seemed to make everything look simple growing up as “the guy.”
“It was tough, I’m not going to lie,” Allen humbly explained. “First couple games of the year I was excited…but once we got into the meat of the season it started to wear on me a little. I got a little tired of sitting on the bench.”
While backing up Hill early in the year Allen tried to make his team better: in practice.
“Just letting the coaches know I’m not going anywhere,” he said of his team-first approach. “They saw that and they trusted in me and they gave me the starting spot midway through [the season].”
With a new year comes higher expectations from a fan base crazy about their program and accustomed to elite-level quarterback play.
As the past has proven it’s nothing Allen can’t handle.