Entering the 2021 season, Wisconsin football had a dearth of unproven talent at running back, but no shortage of options. Fast forward to the present where Wisconsin’s backfield options have severely dwindled for varying reasons.
Three scholarship running backs have been dismissed from the Wisconsin football program (Berger, Roberts, and Crawford), and lost Isaac Guerendo, who suffered a season-ending injury earlier in the year. Now, most recently Wisconsin learned it will be without starting running back Chez Mellusi who was lost for the season with an injury of his own.
What was once a crowded room now has very few able bodies remaining. Thankfully, of those able bodies, true freshman Braelon Allen remains. Much has been made of the 17-year old freshman from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin – and for good reason. He’s been nothing short of fantastic since he became a regular fixture in Wisconsin’s running back rotation.
Braelon Allen entered fall camp buried on the depth chart, but as the offense struggled, he remained patient and earned an opportunity that he has since run with. Physically, Allen has been ready since day one – standing at (6-foot-2, 238lbs). His unique blend of patience, power, and speed have jettisoned him to the top of the depth chart, where it’s safe to say he’ll remain for quite some time. Braelon Allen has dominated in Big Ten play and cemented himself as the program’s RB1.
Braelon Allen rushing totals during the 6 game winning streak
Illinois – 18 carries, 131 yards (7.3 YPC), 1 touchdown.
Army – 16 carries, 108 yards (6.8 YPC), 1 touchdown.
Purdue – 12 carries, 140 yards (11.7 YPC), 2 touchdowns.
Iowa – 20 carries, 104 yards (5.2 YPC).
Rutgers – 15 carries, 129 yards (8.6 YPC) 1 touchdown.
Northwestern – 25 carries, 173 yards (6.8 YPC) 3 touchdowns.
That’s 106 carries, for 785 yards (7.4 YPC) and 8 touchdowns during Wisconsin’s 6 game winning streak. We’re not even through Braelon Allen’s true freshman season and I’m running out of things to say about how good he’s been. Allen has 22 runs of 10+ yards on the season, that’s a run of over 10 yards on 18% of his carries.
For the season, Allen has carried the ball 117 times – for 824 yards (7 YPC) and 9 touchdowns. More impressive than that, is the fact that 522 of those rushing yards have come AFTER contact. Yes, you read that right that’s 63% of his rushing yards coming after contact – 4.66 yards on a per carry average. Braelon Allen is just an absurdly impressive runner who refuses to go down without a second effort.
At this point, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Braelon Allen’s future on offense is pretty secure at this point. Braelon Allen helped re-establish Wisconsin’s offensive identity as a hard-nosed running team, and it’s no coincidence that the Badgers have gotten back to their winning ways.
Every time Wisconsin graduates a storied running back, fans worry about where the next great back will come from. And while that was a fair question entering the 2021 season, RBU has struck gold again with Braelon Allen – he’s the next Wisconsin superstar workhorse for Wisconsin Football.