In honor of Robby Anderson becoming eligible, we can only think of one song appropriate to the occasion.
Technically, it will not be until around 6:30 p.m. on the night of Sept. 5 before Temple fans learn whether their long Commonwealth nightmare is over. Substantively, though, they learned the result yesterday when Robby Anderson was declared eligible.
We will not paraphrase former U.S. President Gerald Ford by calling the failure to beat Penn State a long national nightmare but, since 1941, it certainly has been a Commonwealth (of Pennsylvania) nightmare. We should all wake from that slumber in one month and one day, thanks to the special talents of one Mr. Anderson.
Temple tested a smaller nuclear device last week when it learned Pitt transfer Adonis Jennings was declared eligible. Monday’s news about Anderson was one of those megaton Hydrogen-type jawns and the Nittany Lions have no idea of what is about to hit them.
After carefully observing both Anderson in 2013 and the Penn State secondary last season, I have come to the conclusion—sad for them, good for the Owls—that the Nittany Lions cannot stop Anderson or even hope to contain him. Anything Jennings can add to this mix is just a bonus. Anderson should help open a Temple offense that was closed tighter than one of those Kansas silos.
Anderson’s eligibility is huge because is a proven big-play receiver, not only in the AAC, but from a national standpoint. His 18.7-yards-per-catch average was second in all of college football in the 2013 season. His three touchdown receptions in a 41-21 win at Memphis was an exclamation point in a five-game season that saw him catch nine touchdown passes from true freshman quarterback P.J. Walker.
Walker, who started the same number of games at quarterback, finished with 20 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. Without Anderson, who flunked out of school in January of 2014, Walker looked to be out of his comfort zone a year ago and suffered a sophomore slump in which he only had 12 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. The news about Anderson came four days after Temple learned that the NCAA granted Pitt transfer Adonis Jennings, a four-star wide receiver recruit, a hardship waiver to become immediately eligible.
To be sure, there were signs this was coming over the last few weeks or so. A wide receiver transfer from Hawaii, Keith Kirkwood, who wore No. 19 last year, changed his number from 19 to 89 last week and Anderson attended a couple of team charity functions wearing his familiar No. 19.
As it turned out, those were clues to a mystery that was solved on Monday and will be the talk of AAC Media Day. More importantly, although there is still a lot of work to do over the next month, the confidence level of Temple fans going into a Penn State game has never been higher.