That was the final score of Temple’s last game, the season finale at Navy last year. This year, that score has been drilled into the heads of the players as they prepare to take on the Midshipmen Friday at Lincoln Financial Field.
“Every day we’re reminded, 42-6,” said red-shirt junior wide receiver Travis Shelton, who started in last year’s contest. “Our coaches have made us sick of Navy.”
Even Daryl Robinson, a freshman who is listed as an “athlete” on the roster, said he has hard feelings for Navy.
“I heard they’re a tough team and they don’t make many mistakes, but I’m going to break one on them though,” Robinson said. “But we’re going to try to beat Navy and try to get this win.”
Last year’s game was dictated by Navy’s precise running game. The Midshipmen racked up 420 yards on the ground, with then-sophomore quarterback Kalpo Kaheaku-Enhada leading the way with 140 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns. Navy led the nation in rushing last season.
But coach Al Golden said Navy isn’t the only team that can run.
“We can really run on defense,” Golden said. “We’ve got eight defensive linemen who can go into the game. We’re young at linebacker, but we have some guys who can really run and strike and we should be disruptive on the defensive line.”
Temple’s defense was young last year and it remains young this season, with linebackers Ryan Gore and Walter Mebane and defensive back Chris Page gone. A few returning Owls had big performances against Navy last season.
Sophomore Brian Sanford, listed atop the depth chart at defensive end, will look to have another ballgame like he did last year, when he notched nine tackles, with one going for a loss. Junior Georg Coleman collected eight tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
Junior wide receiver Bruce Francis, who led the Owls with seven receptions against Navy, has high expectations for the game. He takes a 16-game reception streak into the contest.
“We’re looking for a really good game,” Francis said. “We’ve been basing all of our workouts on 42-6… We season. We know they’re going to be a tough, disciplined team, and we’re looking to hopefully come out victorious.”
Shelton said the Owls have a key element that was missing from last year’s team.”The coaches have put in a lot more plays and our offense is more explosive,” he said.
“I’m ready. We’re going to set off these fireworks.”Azubuike said that playing Navy at home this time may have an impact.
“I think the home field advantage will be huge,” he said. “Whether it’s neutral or one-sided, I think the atmosphere
will be great.”
Yet Azubuike said he still has his sights on the game.
“Last year, they beat us pretty bad and this time we’re looking to even the score a little bit,” he said.
Shelton said he also wants to even the score against Navy. “We owe them,” he said. “We owe them.”
Terrance McNeil can be reached at email@example.com.