Game Day: The Robby Anderson Effect

Tulane v Temple

TU will find a guy who can make catches like this occasionally, but it will be hard to find a guy who makes these catches as routinely as  Robby Anderson does. 

Hard to believe today will the penultimate game to one of the most exciting receivers who has come to Temple since the great Van Johnson and we are talking, of course, about Robby Anderson.

Anderson, you might know about. Johnson, you might not.

Yes, Van Johnson, the late 1990s Temple receiver, not to be confused with Van Johnson, the 1940s actor. The actor was shot seven times in his movies, the wide receiver once when growing up in D.C. When he played for Temple, he got off the line of scrimmage like he was shot out of a cannon. He was to the great Henry Burris what Anderson is to P.J. Walker.

Yeah, I know Temple’s had a lot of great receivers since then, from Phil Goodman to Charlie (err, Zamir) Cobb, and Bruce Francis and Rod Streater, but there’s a little “it” factor that has set Johnson apart from his successors and Anderson from his predecessors. Johnson’s 1996 season was very similar to Anderson’s 2013 season. In that year, in 11 games, Johnson had 50 catches and eight touchdowns and 902 yards. In 2013, in nine games Anderson had 44 receptions for 791 yards and nine touchdowns.  This year, he has 52 receptions for 723 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games. Both guys could go up and get the ball and make explosive plays after they caught it.

vanster

Van Johnson, TU player

actor

Van Johnson, 1940s actor

In a game like today, at Houston (noon, ABC) for the championship, while everybody will be focused on Jahad Thomas, Greg Ward and Tyler Matakevich, it’s often another guy who grabs the spotlight and Anderson certainly is capable of being THAT guy. He has not had to be that guy this because Temple can spread the rock around, but he is a prime time player. He is only four receptions away from 100 for his career and I believe he will get them. If a couple of them are for touchdowns, the Owls will win. If he catches just three balls, he will pass Steve Watson into the sixth spot on the all-time list.

Speaking of lists, most of the bowl projections by the so-called experts have Houston beating Temple and earning the AAC’s slot in a NY6 bowl.

ESPN analyst Lee Corso might give his stock answer to that assumption, “not so fast, my friend” by closely observing the evidence at hand. Two or three games into a 12-game season, comparative scores hardly seem like a good way at picking a winner but that equation all changes 12 games into a season.  Those appear to point to Temple as the winner over host Cougars.

Both teams played Memphis and UConn recently and Temple performed significantly better against similar opposition in two games than Houston. The Cougars lost at UConn, 20-17, two weeks ago while Temple beat UConn, 27-3, last week. A lot of that could be attributed to the Cougars being without  Ward Jr., but the 27-point difference points to more than just one player.

Another example is Memphis, as the Tigers led, 34-14, with seven minutes left at Houston before blowing the lead and losing, 35-34. A week later, the Tigers were not even in the game at Temple, where the Owls won, 31-12.

Those are a couple of compelling examples, but there have been others as Cincinnati had the lead for much of a game at Houston before falling, 33-30. Its game against visiting Temple played out far differently earlier in the season as the Owls took a 34-12 lead into the fourth quarter before holding on to win, 34-26.  Temple’s top two non-conference foes, Penn State and Notre Dame, was certainly tougher than Houston’s top two, Vanderbilt and Louisville, so the evidence suggests that Temple has been steeled for these types of games.

Of course, there is other data to consider, but there is a lot of empirical evidence out to suggest that Temple will come out on top but part of the fun of football is discovering if the clues lead to the right conclusion.

Call it a hunch, call it men’s intuition, but I have a strong feeling that Robby Anderson will factor rather largely into this game.

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12 thoughts on “Game Day: The Robby Anderson Effect

  1. Rhule was offered a significant raise with incentives to include conference championships, bowl games, and P5 admission and new stadium clauses.., school wants to make an announcement BEFORE the game so the kids play their hearts out.., Rhule’s new agent is not a university favorite…, contract offer is currently sitting with Rhule and his agent

    City Council is the biggest obstacle for the new stadium…, Lurie took all but 10% of the parking and concession proceeds from the PSU and ND games at the Linc…,

    writing letters to Kraft and Theobald do help

    Temple will play in the Peach with a win today, and most likely the Boca Raton Bowl with a loss..

    we need to significantly increase Owl Club members this year

  2. I’m super pumped for the game. Wish it were at Linc. I have so much energy right now I feel like strapping on a helmet to cover the first kick.

    So I’m going to rake leaves and hang Christmas lights until 11:55am. GO OWLS!

    • I’m headed out the door in about an hour, cannot watch this alone; have to watch with fellow Owl fans.

      • Mike

        I debated going out to watch the game somewhere, with a bunch of TU fans, but ultimately chose to stay home.

        Wife and girls are all out for the day with a promise not to come home until after 4. I have the whole house to myself with a nice lunch, some beer and a fine cigar. On pins and needles here about a half hour before kickoff!

      • I go crazy watching the game by myself. Rather go crazy with a bunch of fellow Owl die-hards.

  3. Guts and heart will carry the day.

  4. Turnovers killing us as far similar to last years game. Announcers made a interesting comment about Temple being well coached all year but a lot of mental mistakes today, maybe all the coaching drama was more of a distraction then everyone thought

  5. TDECU Stadium is one of the loudest places in America, they have microphones at select places to amplify the sound (I thought that was illegal?)..,, Houston came out of the tunnel on fire…, in contrast there was a malfunction and the pyro failed to ignite out the the two “T” boxes when the Temple players entered the stadium..,

    Houston did to Temple what they did to Navy, shut down the run and force the QB to beat you with the pass.., as mentioned earlier on this site, Houston is # 3 in the entire nation in turnover margin and the two first quarter Temple turnovers ultimately decided the outcome of the game..,

    Temple came out flat, the energy returned in the second half but the offense struggled at key moments.., not sure why Temple didn’t bring the cheerleaders and Owl Mascot…., little things like the pyro, Hooter really matter in big games.., we had Temple fans in the stands…,

    just disappointed we didn’t play our best game in the conference championship, committed two unforced turnovers (one in the red zone, the other gave Houston a very short field), came out flat, and didn’t match Houston’s energy at the start of the game…, bowl game will probably be in Florida

  6. Feeling empty inside.

    Yet this is why we love the game and are fans, Remember that warm day in early September and the victory over PSU. That makes things feel alright. Go Owls!

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