Sully Says: Austin's final game
Austin Allen was the MVP of two 7A State title games but didn't win the Landers Award.
The Fayetteville high star lost out to Greenwood receiver Drew Morgan in one of the closest votes in the history of the award. If there was one guy Austin didn't want to lose to, it was Drew. I remember joking with Austin about Landers night( and losing to Drew ) during his first Media Day as a Hog.
Fast forward, four years, and Drew Morgan was Austin's go-to receiver at Arkansas.
My favorite Austin Allen-Drew Morgan game was the double overtime win at TCU last season. Allen and Morgan hooked up seven times for 93 yards. It was in that game that everyone saw that number eight had that "clutch " gene.
The Hogs were down 28-20 with under 2 minutes to go in regulation when Austin went to work. Six-yard pass to Drew, 24-yard pass to Drew, 17-yard dart to Jared Cornelius, and then he hooked up with Keon Hatcher for a 16-yard Touchdown. 4 plays, 58 yards in just over a minute. Do you remember the two-point conversion play? Hatcher threw a pass to Austin to tie the game.
Then there was the Texas A&M game. The Aggies treated Austin like a pinata. He took a beating. But didn't miss a snap or many throws. His final numbers 28-42 for 371 yards and two touchdowns.
He handled the media the same way. Week after week, Austin stood tall and answered all kinds of questions honestly and respectfully. He had an excellent junior season. He threw for 3,430 yards and 25 touchdowns.
This season has been miserable for the senior.
I know he hated having to sit out three games. Austin treasures every snap. Keep in mind; he had to wait three years to get his opportunity to quarterback the Hogs.
There was a play in last week's loss that I think sums up Austin's senior season. It was late in the third quarter, the Hogs had a 21-14 lead and had the ball at their 42-yard line. Austin, who had scrambled for a first down earlier in the game, took off again. As he was finishing up an 11-yard run, the ball got knocked loose, and State recovered. The replay showed that the ball came free a split second before Austin hit the turf. It's been that kind of season.
Coach B always talks about flinching. I've watched Austin in high school and as a Hog, and I never saw him flinch.
Six years ago, I watched Austin leave the KATV studios as a disappointed runner-up; He deserves a better ending on Friday.