Moss ensures UM isn't upset again

'Canes back rushes for four TDs while defense stiffens in the second half.

Associated Press
Published October 30, 2005

MIAMI - Tyrone Moss' father is an equipment operator for Deerfield Beach, a Broward County city hit hard by Hurricane Wilma.

Ronald Moss couldn't get Saturday off because of the ongoing recovery effort. He missed quite a show.

His son rushed for career highs of 195 yards and four touchdowns as No. 6 Miami pulled away to beat North Carolina 34-16.

"I can't sit here and take all the credit," said Moss, who became the fifth Miami player to have four touchdowns rushing in a game. "You know, I just went out there and made some good reads. ... Maybe one more play, I would have had that 200 yards."

The Hurricanes trailed 16-7 at intermission, then scored three touchdowns in an eight-minute span of the third quarter to take control, setting up a showdown with unbeaten Virginia Tech this Saturday for control of the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division.

"We know what type of players we have and we know what type of potential we have," Miami quarterback Kyle Wright said. "If we go out and pass the ball successfully and run the ball successfully, I don't care what they say, they're not going to beat us."

Moss scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, then added second-half scoring runs of 1, 4 and 15 yards to ensure Miami wouldn't be upset by North Carolina for the second straight year. Quadtrine Hill recovered a punt he blocked in the end zone for the go-ahead score for Miami.

Miami's defense, which entered ranked No. 1 nationally but yielded 170 first-half yards, limited the Tar Heels to 18 total yards on 30 plays after halftime - 14 of those yards coming in the final minute.

"We played with a lot of emotion, then got kicked in the stomach in the third quarter," Carolina coach John Bunting said. "It's a tough one."

The Hurricanes wore circa-1967, kelly green-and-gold throwback uniforms.

"I don't know when's the last time Miami had a terrible season and looked terrible on the field," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "But that first half, that might have been a throwback to that time."

North Carolina ran for 117 yards by halftime, with Ronnie McGill opening the scoring on a 1-yard run. Moss' 1-yard run tied the score at 7, but the Tar Heels reclaimed the lead on a bizarre play.

Facing a third-and-5 from the Miami 35, Hurricanes center Anthony Wollschlager snapped the ball over Wright's head. It squirmed back inside the 5 and was intentionally kicked out of the end zone by Miami tackle Eric Winston - potentially saving a touchdown, but giving the Heels a safety and a 9-7 lead.

The Heels eventually got their touchdown anyhow. On the ensuing drive, McGill scored from 7 yards, ending an easy eight-play, 50-yard drive to give his team a 16-7 advantage.

But from there, it was all Miami, which played its first home game since Hurricane Wilma struck, and reminders were everywhere at the Orange Bowl.

Miami's ring of honor, bolted to the steel-faced second deck on the north side, was loosened by wind and removed. Some light towers had bulbs blown away, a few sections were cordoned off because of damage, and the visitors' scoreboard screen was gone. Plus, the upper deck was emptied in the second quarter, with a few thousand fans moved to the lower bowl as a precaution.

"I can't put too much emphasis on the positive of a football game," Coker said after the Canes' sixth straight win. "But it is a good diversion."