Allen puts Eskimos on the go

October 15, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore rush end O. J. Brigance doesn't need to be reminded of Damon Allen's prowess afoot.

Brigance played the role of chaser last season when Allen, the chasee, set the Canadian Football League's single-game rushing record for a quarterback.

Allen ran for 170 yards on 15 carries for the Edmonton Eskimos in a 54-14 rout of the British Columbia Lions.

Brigance, then with the Lions, will renew the chase tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., when the CFLs visit the Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium. He just doesn't want to relive the memory.

"I don't like to think about that game," Brigance said. "When he's running like that, it gets his confidence up more."

Mike Kerr, a backup rush end with Baltimore, remembers Allen's big game from the Edmonton perspective. Kerr was on Edmonton's practice roster when the Eskimos made a late-season run that carried them to the Grey Cup championship.

"It broke wide-open when Damon had that big game," Kerr said. "He's the best [running quarterback] in the league in my book. I saw him break a guy's ankle on a fake."

A year ago, Allen, 31, ran for 920 yards, 5 behind rushing champion Michael Richardson of Winnipeg. Through 14 games this year, Allen has run for 614 yards. Therein lies the rub. Coach Ron Lancaster says he's not running enough.

"We like him to run," Lancaster said. "For Damon to be successful, for us to be successful, he has to run the football."

Actually, the difference is productivity, not rushes. With four games left, Allen has run the ball only 13 times fewer than last season. But he is averaging a 2 yards less per carry.

"The last couple of weeks, I haven't had [many] opportunities to run," Allen said. "It's more the situation."

Allen, nursing a sore shoulder, did not start last week's 33-32 win over Hamilton. He played the fourth quarter, hitting six of 10 passes.

"His running opens up his passing," said Baltimore halfback Ken Watson. "He's a great passer, too. He knows how to put points on the board."

Allen, who has thrown for 3,052 yards, 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, said his shoulder is fine and will allow him to play tomorrow.

NOTES: Linebacker Matt Goodwin (shoulder) returns to Baltimore's starting lineup tomorrow, replacing cornerback Kwame Smith on the roster. Ken Benson, who started last week, will back up the Goodwin twins, Matt and Malcolm. . . Coach Don Mathews said punter Josh Miller will handle kickoffs this week, leaving Donald Igwebuike to concentrate on field goals. . . . The CFLs' offensive line was at its creative best in yesterday's practice. On one snap, the linemen chanted "mean machine." On another, they imitated the Dallas Cowboys' famed shift. And on the last snap of the day, all five players did a forward roll into a karate stance. "They're a bunch of characters," Matthews said. "And they're playing good, too."

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