When the Boston College football team hosts UConn Saturday afternoon, Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill is going to feel like a reunion for Eagles defensive end Zach Allen.

Allen, a 2015 New Canaan High School graduate, has secured 25 tickets for family and friends from his home state to see him lock horns with the Huskies.

Allen also has many friends on the UConn team he will be facing, which he says only increases his excitement for this matchup up between two New England Division 1 programs.

“UConn is a big game for us. It’s a rivalry, it’s a battle of New England and we want to win and get those bragging rights,” Allen said. “I know a good amount of the guys, I’m friends with a bunch of them on that team and that just adds to making this a fun game to play.”

Allen was also recruited by UConn before choosing life in the ACC at Boston College.

BC is 4-6 and would need to beat UConn and Wake Forest the following week to become bowl eligible. While making it to a bowl would be great, Allen says the Eagles are only concerned with the matter at hand, beating UConn.

More Information


School: Boston College

Position: Defensive End

HT/WT: 6-foot-5, 275 pounds


2016 season: 29 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries

Recorded 6 tackles twice at Massachusetts, Sept. 10 and at Virginia Tech, Sept. 17

Freshman year earned the Athletic Director’s Award for Academic Achievement

2015 New Canaan graduate

“We have had ups and downs this year, but I feel like we are moving in the right direction,” Allen said. “We know we still have a chance to go to a bowl game but the focus is only on UConn right now. They are coming off a bye and we know they are going to be ready for us.”

The 6-foot-5-inch, 275 pound Allen is currently having a solid sophomore season for the Eagles, starting every game at defensive end.

Against Massachusetts, Allen had a monster game with six tackles and 1.5 sacks. He also had two and a half tackles for a loss, costing UMass minus-12 yards, and came up with a huge fumble recovery in the red zone late in the first half.

He also recorded six tackles against Virginia Tech and recovered another fumble in a win over North Carolina State.

As a freshman, Allen played in all 12 games, mostly on special teams though he started seeing time on the defense toward the end of the season.

Allen said playing at New Canaan had him prepared for the rigors playin in the NCAA as Lou Marinelli runs his program similarly to a college and the high school carries high academic standards.

What Allen’s time in the FCIAC did not prepare him for was the speed of the game in a Power 5 conference.

“Fairfield County is not really known for having burners,” Allen said. “Then all of a sudden I’m on the field against Florida State and Clemson and NC State and these guys are so fast. Not only fast but everyone has size and speed. I’ve come a long way in two season and that is all due to the great leaders on this team who are always helping you make the transition from high school to college. I played with a lot of guys the last two years who are great examples.”

Allen said he knew he could compete during the Clemson game his freshman season.

“I played a good amount of reps against Clemson last year and realized I could play with these guys,” Allen said. “I saw I could hold my own and play with the best in the nation. I didn’t make any big mistakes, I did what I needed to do and from there it’s been going well.”

Allen continues to improve and the next two seasons offer him the opportunity to shine in a national spotlight week after week.

This week, he just hopes to shine in front of the 25 family and friends he has coming to the game, garner some bragging rights with the neighbors to the west and help the Eagles stay bowl eligible.

Scott.Ericson@scni.com; @EricsonSports