On Friday, we said a far-too-early-goodbye to former Miami RB Tyrone Moss, who passed away at the age of 33. His memory will always live on in Miami, especially for his role in the 2005 season. Despite playing in a committee, Moss was the dominant back in ’05, rushing for more than 700 yards, 12 TDs and averaging better than five yards per carry. Late in the season, he blew away UNC during a 34-16 victory, gashing the Heel’s defense for 195 yards and four TDs. While his most dominant statline came in that rout, his most impressive performance came against Clemson.
After no. 9 Miami lost to no. 14 FSU in their first game, the no. 13 Canes entered Death Valley to duel with the no. 20 Tigers. Neither team could afford to lose, especially for the Canes to drop two straight. Moss was effective against FSU, running for 102 yards on 23 carries, but it would ultimately pale in comparison to what he did against Clemson, a team that had won 13 of its last 14 home games entering this one.
Moss showed his powerful skillset early in the first quarter, taking a handoff from Kyle Wright on Miami’s second drive. From about midfield, Moss started left, cut inside when the hole opened and then used his bullish strength to carry a couple Clemson defenders 13 yards downfield. Moss kept up the pressure on Clemson, using his great vision, low center of gravity and quick feet to set up his runs. And when he found the open lane? He put his shoulders down and took defenders on with reckless abandon, slamming into the orange front seven, winning collisions and picking up big chunks for his offense.
The junior from Pompano Beach didn’t let up, helping shoulder the offensive load, rushing for 129 total yards in regulation. He saved his best for the end of the game, breaking into the endzone on an early 4th quarter run to put Miami up 20-10. But the Canes allowed Clemson to rally, entering overtime with the score 20-20. Having first possession of the football, Moss was set up with a 1st & Goal at the six. With two carries, Moss powered his way into the endzone, giving his team the early advantage at 27-20.
Clemson answered that score too, leading to second OT where Moss continued his hard yet shifty ground game. However, he was unable to find much daylight in this period and Miami was forced to kick a field goal to tie the game back up following a Tigers’ field goal, 30-30.
The two teams were exhausted by this point, especially the defenses, who had to play several hours in temperatures that were right around 90 degrees. It was only appropriate that the 5’9” back and former 5-star would provide the knockout punch to a weary Clemson defense. On the second play of third overtime, Miami getting the first offensive possession, Moss took the handoff from Wright in i-formation. A power run play, Moss followed his pulling lineman to an open gap, getting skinny as he accelerated downfield in a hurry. He cut hard outside his blocking receiver, and with paydirt just ten yards in front of him, no one was stopping him. Moss outraced one last Tiger defender, dove for the pylon and scored. Touchdown Miami. The Hurricanes’ defense held and Moss, with three crucial scores, led the way to a wild 36-30 victory with his 139 yards rushing.
Rest in Peace, Tyrone Moss.