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'Canes back up on back of Moss

UM 17, SU 10: The freshman rushes for 91 yards and the winning TD to help end Miami's skid.

MICHAEL SNYDER
Published November 16, 2003

MIAMI - The Hurricanes were looking for a quarterback Saturday, but might have found a running back instead.

Derrick Crudup made his first start at quarterback but Tyrone Moss' legs stole the show as the No.14 Hurricanes kept their BCS bowl hopes alive with a 17-10 win over Syracuse at the Orange Bowl.

The 'Canes (8-2, 4-1) got a dominating second half from Moss, a true freshman, to beat Syracuse (5-4, 2-3) for the fifth consecutive year, and end their first losing streak in four years.

"Tyrone Moss played a great game," UM tackle Eric Winston said. "He ran the ball like we've been waiting for someone to run the ball. He broke some runs, he broke some tackles. ... He grew up today."

Moss gained 91 yards on 18 carries and had a 9-yard touchdown run that broke a 10-10 deadlock in the fourth quarter.

On the play, Moss spun past Anthony Smith before carrying 240-pound linebacker Rich Scanlon into the end zone with 8:08 left.

When asked what he was thinking about on the play, Moss said simply, "The end zone. That's all I think about."

Moss energized UM's smallest home crowd of the season (48,130) with a mix of speed and moves as the 'Canes went to a conservative game plan.

"Tyrone Moss came in (in the second half) and really ignited us," coach Larry Coker said. "Tyrone is one of those backs who gets better the more carries he gets."

Crudup, making his starting debut in place of Brock Berlin, threw an interception, had another one dropped and lost a fumble. But Miami moved the ball anyway with its ground game.

Crudup completed 5-of-13 passes for 80 yards, fewest by UM since 1998's game against Syracuse, and ran for 29 yards.

He looked great finding Ryan Moore 25 yards behind the coverage for a 45-yard touchdown strike down the right sideline - after a pump fake to the left - that put the 'Canes up 7-3 early.

But on the game's opening drive Crudup tossed a ball right to Scanlon, who stepped in front of tight end Kevin Everett for the interception. A fumbled snap between Joel Rodriguez and Crudup was pounced on by Kellen Pruitt, and led to Walter Reyes 1-yard scoring run that put Syracuse up 10-7 at the half.

There were times Crudup looked befuddled, like when he was tackled for a loss with UM facing fourth and 1 at the Syracuse 4 early in the third. He started right, looked to hand the ball off, before going left into a group of Orangemen.

"I played well today, but as a competitor, you always want to do better," Crudup said.

Then again ... "They scored 10 points off turnovers," Winston said. "If we put them down on the 20 every time, they're not going to score, bottom line. No one's going to score on our defense."

It appeared that way much of the game. Reyes had 89 yards rushing but didn't really hurt UM. R.J. Anderson threw for 85 yards and had a pass intercepted by Maurice Sikes, who clinched the game with a fourth down end-zone breakup with under a minute left.

"We needed a win," Sikes said. "If we could have won this one-zip it would have been a blessing for us."

The UM defense allowed no points, 62 yards and one first down in the second half. Meanwhile Moss, who gained all of his yards in the second half, was just heating up. He had 43 yards on the drive that tied the score. Then he had 34 yards, including 26 up the middle, on the winning drive.

"I was just saying to myself, "Break a long one and get it over with,"' said Moss, who rushed for more than 7,000 yards in high school at Pompano Beach Ely. "Every time I get the ball, I get more confident - more confident I'm going to break one."

"We just needed this win to get back on track," Crudup said. "We didn't lose confidence. This team doesn't have a confidence problem."

Apparently not at tailback anyway.

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