Temple's Robby Anderson is ecstatic about finishing his college career near his home. Then again, Anderson is happy to be playing football anywhere after missing last season due to academic ineligibility.
He takes nothing for granted, and for the Owls senior receiver, every day on the field is a special one.
Anderson attended South Plantation High in Plantation, Fla., which he said is about 25 minutes from where Temple will wind up its potential record-breaking season.
The Owls (10-3) will meet Toledo (9-2) in Tuesday's Boca Raton Bowl. An Owls victory would give Temple a single-season school record for wins.
"It is very exciting to end my college career there, and I consider it a blessing to end it with a lot of friends and family attending the game," Anderson said earlier this week.
Technically, his career will last one more game, since Anderson has also accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Yet Tuesday will be his final time playing with his Temple teammates. Anderson, who has 64 receptions for 873 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Owls in all three receiving categories, always knew he loved the game and he understood how much it meant to him when he was a spectator a year ago.
"It's really a dream come true to be part of this and come back and receive my education and play football with my brothers and coaches," he said. "It's been a special season."
Temple coach Matt Rhule said that Anderson has been battling injuries. Anderson himself said he's ready to go.
"Naturally, everybody will be banged up with little nicks and bruises, and I am good," Anderson said.
Anderson redshirted his first year in 2011 and appeared in just six games on special teams the next year.
It was in 2013, during Rhule's first season as head coach, that Anderson had a breakout year. He caught 44 passes for 791 yards and nine touchdowns in just 10 games.
Anderson made more big plays that year, averaging 18.0 yards per catch compared to 13.6 this season. Yet Anderson has been the focal point of opposing defenses this season and fequently has been double-teamed. So his value has gone beyond just making receptions.
"He opened up the offensive system because guys have to double him time to time," Temple quarterback P.J. Walker said. "If a team doesn't have a great corner, you can't play him one-on-one, and even with a great corner, one-on-one he is tough because he can beat the best corners."
Even with the extra coverage, he had a career-high 12 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown in Temple's 24-13 loss at Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
"He is a good player," said Toledo all-conference cornerback Cheatham Norrils in a phone interview. "I feel they try to put him in the best position to make plays and get opportunities to do what he does, and they will definitely try to get him the ball."
Anderson said he gained even more appreciation for the game after being idle last year, but all along he felt that he would get another opportunity.
"I never gave up on myself," he said. ". . . I felt I would be back at Temple and expected to be back."
Notable. Tuesday's game will be carried live on WPHT-AM (1210). Normally, WPEN-FM (97.5) broadcasts Temple football, but the station is unable to carry the game due to a conflict with the 76ers. . . . Temple departs for Boca Raton on Thursday.