Moss Legacy Lives On
Picture above: The family of Durwood "Dury" Moss makes the presentation of Durwood Moss' 1915 Iowa game ball: (left to right): Connie DeHaan (grand daughter); Emily Johnson (great-grand daughter); Marilyn Boysen (daughter); Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads; Tom Farniok (2011 recipient of the Dury Moss Award); Barb Clements (grand daughter); Lisa McKinstry (grand daughter); Sarah Clements (great-grand daughter).
"Due to one man's exceptional athletic ability, my family has been expanding our literacy and education for many generations and surely will continue to do so. If Durwood never went to play football at ISU our family would not have the same legacy to fufill. Without Durwood making the first move to become a student of higher education, who knows how my family's literacy would look today. It is because of his desire and dedication to make a good living that all of the children after him have a more sophisticated literacy. A family legacy of higher education that goes on for four generations and is continuing to grow can all be traced back to one football earned by one captain and his team." - Robert M. DeHaan, Great grandson of Iowa State football student-athlete Durwood "Dury" Moss, 2010
AMES, Iowa -- There was an extra special moment at the 2011 Iowa State football banquet. On hand was the family of former Cyclone gridiron standout Durwood "Dury" Moss. Moss was an All-Missouri Valley Conference quarterback for Iowa State in 1914 and 1915.
It was at that banquet that the family of Moss, nearly 100 years after he graced the Cyclone football field, donated the game ball from the 1915 Iowa game and made the presentation to Tom Farniok, who won the Moss Award as Iowa State's top newcomer. The game ball, given to Moss after a Cyclone victory was tangible evidence of another time in Iowa State history.
Iowa State football had the college campus, the town of Ames and Iowa State College alumni buzzing during the summer of 1915. Ten "A" men returned from the 1914 squad to a new coach, Charles Mayser. Cyclone fans had visions of beating the University of Iowa, which had won the last three games between the two schools.
The schedule opened with a Sept. 25 contest against Ellsworth. The Cyclones were expected to dominate, and they did not disappoint. Iowa State junior Clarence Jones rushed for two touchdowns in a 31-0 rout played in a constant drizzle which put a damper on the play of both teams.
With an Oct. 9 contest at Minnesota looming, the Cyclones scored a costly 27-0 victory over Simpson in Ames on Oct. 2. Iowa State fullback Ed Uhl left the game with two dislocated ribs. The Cyclones would lose several players during the contest in a more unusual manner. State Field (eventually Clyde Williams Field) had been lined with lime for the Simpson game, but the constant rain combined with the lime to create a chemical reaction that burned the skin of several players bad enough to keep them out of action for two weeks.
The loss of several players meant the Cyclones couldn't even put one scrimmage together before the game at Minnesota. Mayser was pessimistic going into the game.
"I do not expect us to score," Mayser said. "I think Minnesota could score 5-7 touchdowns on us."
Instead, the Cyclones put up a great battle, falling 9-6. The performance was encouraging and Mayser had two weeks to get ready for the Missouri Valley Conference opener against Missouri.
A well-rested Iowa State squad triumphed on Oct. 16 with a 14-6 win over Missouri at State Field before falling to eventual conference champion Nebraska, 21-0, on Oct. 30. Iowa was the next foe and the buildup for the game was the biggest ever played in the series. Moss and his teammates traveled by train to Cedar Rapids to stay the night before the game.
On Saturday, Nov. 13, the Cyclones rode a special interurban car to Iowa City, where 1,000 Iowa State students had come from Ames on a special train to greet them. A crowd of over 11,000 fans had gathered for the fourth Homecoming game in the history of the University of Iowa. Iowa was a 7-point favorite as the two schools met for the 17th time, on a "beautiful afternoon for football." Pictures of the game include the image of fans who had climbed trees and telephone poles outside the Iowa field to watch the game without paying. That risk would cost one climber his life when he slipped and fell to the ground during the game.
The game on the gridiron was all Iowa State. ISC silenced its critics with a convincing 16-0 victory. The Cyclones, aided by Hawkeye Iowa turnovers, outgained the Hawkeyes 267-216 to push their record to 5-2.
The Cyclones scored in the first half when the ball had been taken from the Ames 45-yard line to Iowa's 20-yard line by line bucks. From here Moss dropped a forward pass to Uhl, which took the pigskin to Iowa's 4-yard line It was from there that Uhl, bad ribs and all, was able to plunge over for the first touchdown and a 7-0 Iowa State lead.
Moss, who would earn first-team all-Missouri Valley honors, added the second touchdown on a 50-yard punt return. A safety put the icing on a great victory that made Drake the final obstacle in the Cyclones' late-season charge.
Iowa State would close the season with its annual Thanksgiving Day game at Drake in Des Moines.
Interest was high for the Cyclone-Bulldog match-up. Iowa State was considered the favorite. Over 3,000 fans packed Drake Stadium for the contest. Adults got in for $1, school children for 20 cents.
The spectators got their money's worth. Drake led 14-7 into the third quarter before Uhl scored his second touchdown, this time from one-yard out, to tie the game. Uhl finished the game with 102 yards rushing. The Cyclones then scored twice in the game's final 10 minutes on touchdown passes from Moss to sophomore end John Evans to capture a 28-14 win, the Iowa state championship and finish the season with a 6-2 record.
After the Drake win, Mayser stunned his team, telling the players practice would begin for the 1916 season on the following Monday. His enthusiasm was further stirred when he was told he could have an assistant coach and trainer on his staff for the next season. Left guard Harold McKinnly joined Moss as a first-team all-conference choice. Uhl made the second team along with sophomore left halfback Howard Aldrich and sophomore left tackle Lowell Reeve.
Moss accepted a job with a lumber company before he could graduate. But that opportunity was the start of a successful business career. He retired as the co-owner of the company. His choice of attending Iowa State opened the door for generations of his family to seek their own legacies in Ames, Iowa.