As head coach Bo Pelini and his Nebraska Cornhuskers prepare to take on the Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs in the Gator Bowl, coach Pelini and defensive coordinator John Papuchis will be preparing to take on a strong rushing attack led by Todd Gurley without one of their key defensive players. Defensive lineman Avery Moss will not be playing for the Cornhuskers in this year’s Bowl Game.
While it has been reported that Moss’ reason for missing the game is because he had to stay behind for personal issues, the most likely reason is that his personal issue was a mandatory court date back in Lincoln that prevented him from traveling with his team. The court date was a hearing involving the star defensive lineman’s actions a year ago in Lincoln; the charge was public indecency. The alleged story is that Moss entered an on-campus convenience store and, when making his purchase, exposed himself to a female clerk running the cash register. No further details have been released from Moss, the University of Nebraska, or the Nebraska coaching staff regarding the issue. Pelini was, however, noncommittal in regards to Moss’ status with the team. When asked if players who were ruled ineligible for the bowl game would be with the program next year, Pelini responded by simply saying, “We’ll see.”
Moss is missing out on a huge opportunity by not participating in the Gator Bowl. He has had a stellar season as a redshirt freshman in 2013, and has been a key contributor to a young Cornhusker defense, a defense that has shown huge strides as of late, allowing members of Husker Nation to be optimistic about the future of their beloved blackshirts. Moss could have used the national stage of a New Year’s Day bowl game in Florida to spring his name forward into the minds’ of some national analysts. He may be on some watch lists as one of the country’s top defensive linemen. Moss possesses all of the tangible features necessary to be an elite defensive linemen. Though he is primarily featured as a defensive end, he has the size (6-foot-2, 270 pounds) to be an interior lineman for the Cornhuskers as well. Moss also has speed and strength that surpasses many freshmen defensive linemen.
As a freshman this year, Moss was the third leading tackler for the Cornuskers, and also recorded 4.5 sacks. He even found the end zone in his first season as a Cornhusker in only his seventh game. Moss had an interception that he returned for 25 yards and a touchdown in the Cornhuskers’ thrilling home victory over Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats.
Without Moss in the lineup, the Cornhuskers will rely on four other very high caliber defensive linemen to man the trenches against the Bulldogs. Thad Randal, Vincent Valentine and Kevin Williams will be charged with the majority of the responsibility manning the interior of the line. Without Moss, Jason Ankrah will most likely play defensive end exclusively, along with standout junior college transfer Randy Gregory.
The loss of Moss is ultimately detrimental to the Cornhuskers’ success, but will most likely prove more harmful to Moss himself.