ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Not much can be said after blowing a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter and losing in overtime after the game was surely in the win column.
However, if there’s one positive to take from the football team’s heartbreaking 33-27 overtime loss to Navy last Saturday, it has to be the senior one-two punch on offense.
Quarterback Adam DiMichele and wide receiver Bruce Francis had career days, putting the Owls in position for a win that would have put them at 4-5 overall and on a two-game winning streak entering their final three Mid American Conference games.
The sure win did not come, but the chemistry and success these two seniors have formed over their careers is one of the few sure things these days.
“It’s simple with Bruce,” DiMichele said. “There are no worries. You know he’s going to be where he’s supposed to be.”
Francis had equally nice things to say about his quarterback.
“We have the kind of chemistry where we don’t need to discuss it,” he said. “It’s been one of those things that have been building over the years.”
Francis has been building himself into of the best receivers in Temple history.
Last Saturday, Francis had a career-high 151 yards receiving on five catches, including two 49-yard touchdown receptions. Those two scores tied him for the career record for touchdown receptions in Temple history with 18.
“The guy makes plays,” DiMichele said. “He doesn’t make mistakes. He left it all on the field.”
Francis acknowledged the records are nice, but that he couldn’t accomplish them without the help of his offense.
“It’s important to me because it’s one of those things that it’s a prestigious record that hasn’t been broken in a while,” said Francis, who has a reception in 35 consecutive games. “But I don’t come in and think about catching touchdowns.
“I do it because it helps the team, and if I happen to break some records, then so be it. I’m not a superstar. I’m not better than anyone else here. I’m one of 11,” he added.
Another of those 11 is DiMichele, who also had a career game against Navy. The McKees Rocks, Pa., native started the game 6 for 6 and finished 21 of 28 for a career-high 340 passing yards with three touchdowns.
“I thought he did a good job distributing the ball,” coach Al Golden said. “I thought he made some good decisions on third down.”
DiMichele missed three games after leaving the Penn State game with a shoulder injury. He returned two weeks ago and led a fourth-quarter comeback against Ohio.
“I feel good personally,” he said of his arm. “When your adrenaline is going and you see one of your teammates going, your arm takes over.”
“He probably came back before he was supposed to,” Francis said. “I’m sure his arm hurts, but Adam won’t tell you that. We appreciate and applaud his effort.”
Ultimately – at a time when the Owls cannot close a game and take the next step in their program – Golden says both seniors should be applauded for their contributions to Temple football.
“Both kids work really hard,” he said. “I just hope with three games left in their careers that they can have a lot of success down the stretch.
“They deserve it. No one works harder than they do.”
Pete Dorchak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.