Zack Moss Says End Of 2017 Was Starting Point When Utah ‘Would Do Special Things’
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah running back Zack Moss believed that the end of the 2017 season was the start to something special for the Utes.
Moss joined former Utah running back great Jamal Anderson on an Instagram Live video on Wednesday. The duo talked about the legendary college career that Moss had at Utah and getting prepared for the upcoming NFL Draft.
One of the things that Anderson asked Moss was his favorite moment at Utah. Moss responded with two favorite moments that turned into a special run for the Utes over the last two seasons. He chose that moment over anything else like breaking nearly every school rushing record.
The End Of 2017 Season
Utah finished with 7 wins after they beat West Virginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2017, which was Moss’ sophomore season. The postgame interview following that game was when Moss felt that better times were ahead for the program.
“The bowl game we played in 2017, the Heart of Dallas Bowl, that was my sophomore year,” Moss said. “I think we won seven games that year, so it was a down year for us especially after winning nine games in 2016. So, we beat West Virginia (in the bowl game) and in the postgame doing interviews, I was on the podium with Tyler (Huntley), Julian (Blackmon) and someone asked us what the next step was for this team going into next year.”
Moss continued with the memory, talking about how talented of a team they had returning for the 2018 season.
“We felt like we had a pretty talented team,” Moss stated. “We had a lot of pieces that we had to put together and it was my first time starting and things like that. I remember saying that this team was talented. On and off the field, I felt like we could do special things. Coming off of my sophomore season and barely making a bowl game. Then going into next year in the off-season we were bonding and doing things together.”
That off-season led to a great run in 2018 where the Utes won their first Pac-12 South Division title and their first trip to the Pac-12 Championship game.
“Then in 2018, I get an injury and Tyler (Huntley) goes down as well but we still made it to the Pac-12 Championship game against Washington. It was tough to watch because you knew of all of the hard work that you put into it to be there.”
Returning For Senior Season
After a junior season where Moss missed the final 5 games of the season with a knee injury. Moss still had the option to return for his senior campaign or declare for the NFL Draft. Three other juniors on the team at that time had that option, including defensive end Bradlee Anae, defensive tackle Leki Fotu and defensive back Julian Blackmon. But the four standouts chose to stay for their last season of college football.
“All of these guys came back and that was the biggest thing,” Moss said. “We were able to get off to a 4-0 start and then we lose to USC and then we just went straight through (the Pac-12) with 9 straight wins right into the Pac-12 Championship game. When you are going through it, you don’t really understand because your mindset was all about not letting USC in the title game.”
Having USC on their back and holding the tiebreaker over Utah really motivated the Utes which ultimately earned them a berth in the title game.
“We knew we just had to keep racking up wins. So, we would just grind and watch film and grind and watch film,” mentioned Moss. “Now that you look back on it, we rattled off nine straight wins and not just close victories, these were blowouts. I was thinking ‘man, we are one of the best Utah football teams ever.'”
Moss then went to the sour part of the season where they lost to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game.
“We finished with 11 wins and came up short in the Oregon game. But we did a lot of good things that year,” stated Moss. “That alone can’t ever be diminished by anyone. That 2016 class can always come back and hang our hats on what we did as seniors and coming back and changing the program.”
Moss will go down as the best running back in school history. Now we have another very talented team that has entered the best team conversation with the 2019 Utes joining 2004 and 2008 as the best ever in program history.