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Moss still owns best rushing averages

May 16, 2012
MICKEY FURFARI FAN-FARE , The Inter-Mountain

MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University has had numerous outstanding halfbacks in its storied football history.

But none got more out of his limited carries than Bob Moss, who lettered in the Golden Era of 1952-53-54-55.

The 6-foot-1, 194-pound Huntington native still holds the WVU record for both season and career average of yards per carry. It was 8.2 for 1955 and 7.8 for his four-year career.

Moss rushed only 185 times for a net of 1,439 yards and 13 touchdowns. For his senior season, he carried the ball 98 times and netted 807 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

On defense, Moss intercepted two passes for 42 yards' return and made nine tackles. He helped the Mountaineers to records of 7-2, 8-2, 8-1 and 8-2.

"I didn't carry the ball very much in those days, not nearly the number of times a halfback does today," Moss said in a recent interview. "Freddy Wyant, the quarterback, carried a lot and so did fullback Joe Marconi, among others.

"In 1954 and 1955, in particular, Freddy would take over anytime we reached the 10 yard line. Then he would take it in for a touchdown from the one- or two-yard line.

"Freddy would call in the huddle 'shirt on two!' That meant quarterback sneak."

Moss explained that a Morgantown clothing store gave a free shirt to anyone scoring a touchdown. Wyant led the Southern Conference in scoring that season (1954).

Moss remembers that the longest rush of his career was 84 yards. That was in a 39-0 blowout win at Marquette.

"The weather was miserable that day," he said.

He thought Art "Pappy" Lewis was a good coach who was very fair and treated all of the players the same.

"I really admired that guy," he added.

The 26-6 upset of South Carolina was one of his favorites. It was the 1954 season opener and played in Columbia, S.C., on a sweltering night. Moss had a couple really good runs in that game.

"I thought that '54 team might have been our best," Moss stated. "But we didn't have many backups."

Others think the 1955 team was better. But losing Wyant and lineman Chuck Howley and Gene Lathey at halftime of Pitt game cost WVU a 26-7 upset loss.

"We lost to Syracuse by a touchdown the following week, too," Moss recalled.

He still cherishes the 16-0 upset victory at Pitt his freshman year. It was WVU's first all-time victory over a ranked opponent.

"I think the Panthers took us too lightly," Moss said.

"We had lost to underdog Furman and we had a freshman quarterback in '52, (Wyant)."

Moss, who scored twice and ran for more than 100 yards, led the way in the third straight win over Penn State in 1955.

Moss served in the Navy for 26 years and retired with the rank of Commander. He retired in 1988 and still resides in Pensacola, Fla.

Bob, now 77, and wife Jacqui have a daughter who lives in New Zealand. He has three other children by a previous marriage.

 
 

 

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