Game Day: Seniors and Sendoffs

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By the luck of the draw of scheduling, the American Athletic Conference has given Temple the chore of sending off UConn in style.

The Owls are 29.5-point favorites and for good reasons. Rod Carey can probably run up the score on the Huskies if he chooses to do so and no one in the league offices would blame him.

Throwback Thursday: The infamous call at UConn

Bruce Francis’ TD catch to win the 2007 game was ruled incomplete by MAC refs but replay showed that Francis had a foot down and possession but the Big East replay official (Jack Kramer) refused to overturn the call in perhaps the most controversial ending of a Temple game in modern history.

Nor in the athletic offices over at the Star Complex on the campus of Temple University.

Temple was the team the then Big East decided to kick out of the league and UConn was the team that the league decided to replace the Owls with and, pretty much since then, Temple football has been on the ascent and UConn football pretty much on the decline. The year after Temple was kicked out, the Owls put up 56 on the Huskies in a game at Franklin Field that opened with Mac Fenton taking the kickoff to the house. That game finished 56-7.

Last year, the Owls did it one better, 57-7.

Even in the year the Huskies made the Fiesta Bowl, Temple hung a 30-16 number on the Huskies at Lincoln Financial Field.

UConn has told the league it no longer wants to play basketball in the conference but asked to continue playing football. It took Commissioner Mike Aresco all of about two minutes to essentially say: “We don’t want your crappy football program.”

So the Owls committing a program to the trash heap of college football with a big win today would be more than a fitting sendoff.

There is, though, a much more important chore at hand: Giving the seniors a big win in their final game at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls will lose perhaps the best three linebackers they’ve had on the same field in a long time: Shaun Bradley, Chapelle Russell and Sam Franklin. All played with a fierceness that benefited their single digits.

At the season ticket-holder party a couple of years ago, Russell sought me out like he seeks out quarterbacks but, instead of putting me on the ground hard, he extended his hand and said simply: “Thanks for coming.” I told him I thought the team would be a lot better than the projections and he responded: “We know it.”

Three years ago at the same function, Isaiah Wright and Linwood Crump Jr. were among the five people at my table. Wright called me “Mr. Mike” (I like that better than sir and Mr. Gibson) and asked me if I thought the stadium would be built by the time he was a senior. I said, “I don’t think so. Too much politics.” Sadly, it turned out I was right.

I’ll miss my yearly, albeit short, conversations with guys like Wright and Russell and what all of the seniors brought to the field during their careers. These guys deserve to see the Owls score early and often and, if Carey decides to run it up, nobody in the league office will get upset.

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: Regular Season Roundup

Thursday: Our Dream Bowl Matchup


7 thoughts on “Game Day: Seniors and Sendoffs

  1. Black jerseys…

  2. Saw it in the Michigan game and just now….what kind of moron goes offsides on a punt to give them a first? That is a special kind of stupid! Holy shyt, unbelievable!

  3. Looks like the play action offense really seems to work under Todd. Hopefully we can build an offense around him in the future years with some transfers (raheem blackshear was at the game tonight). Look at how well the Ravens offense works and you know theyre gonna run.

    • Wow. Good info on Blackshear. He would be a great replacement for Jager.

    • Was by far Centeio’s best game along with Russo showing when he is “on” this offense can put points on the board. Hope that news about Blackshear being at the game turns into a positive “recruit” for the team going forward

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