By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Robert “Bobby” Moss, who grew up in Huntington, was an outstanding halfback on West Virginia University’s 1952-53-54-55 teams.
That was the early Golden Era of football, guided by the late Art “Pappy” Lewis. The Mountaineers posted records of 7-2, 8-2, 8-1 and 8-2.
Those fantastic four seasons, in which Moss had a huge hand, triggered the start of a dominant 30-game winning streak in the Southern Conference championship competition.
Moss, 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, recalled that he was the smallest player in the WVU backfield in 1955. Quarterback Freddy Wyant weighed 205, Joe Marconi 218 and “Stubby” Krutko 215.
Moss, who now resides in Pensacola, Fla., thinks he still holds the school season record for best average per carry rushing at 8.2 yards. That was as a senior.
He had career totals of 1,403 yards rushing (7.2 yards per carry) and scored 18 touchdowns on 180 rushes. He peaked as a senior, gaining 807 yards on only 98 carries.
The former Huntington East High star, also a fine pass catcher, is tied for seventh all-time with an 89-yard run from scrimmage for a touchdown vs. Marquette. He also ranks 12th on a non-touchdown run from scrimmage with a 64-yard run against Syracuse in 1955.
In connection with that, Jim “Shorty” Moss, Bobby’s deceased younger brother, returned an interception 84 yards for a touchdown against Syracuse in 1961. That is currently tied for fifth place on WVU’s all-time list.
Bobby Moss, who turned 79 on Aug. 9, was inducted into the WVU Hall of Fame in 2007. He also is on the all-time team for the period 1950-1959.
He was named to the All-Southern Conference football first team in 1955.
“We won a lot of big games and it was special,” Moss said. He remembers the 16-0 upset victory at Pitt and the three consecutive wins over Penn State (a school rival).
Making that Pitt conquest most memorable is the fact it marked the first-ever victory against a nationally ranked team by WVU.
While he laments a 26-7 loss to underdog Pitt because of numerous key injuries, he was pleased that they had played in WVU’s first major bowl — the Sugar Bowl — on Jan. 1, 1954. They lost to Georgia Tech.
But in the 1954 season opener, West Virginia bounced back against nationally ranked South Carolina on the road, 26-6.
Moss graduated with a degree in business in 1957, then was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. But he was so battered he couldn’t play pro ball.
So he joined the U.S. Navy, played football two years on the Pensacola Naval Air Station team, and wound up having a 26-year career as a Naval Airman.
He retired in 1983. Bob and wife Jacquie have been married 39 years. They met when he was serving in the military in New Zealand. They have one daughter, Nicola Simmons, who also lives in New Zealand.