Thaddeus Moss is gradually living up to his dad's name amid the stars at LSU
BATON ROUGE — Thaddeus Moss' dad is Randy Moss — one of the greatest wide receivers ever to play in the NFL and an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
Moss' teammate at LSU is quarterback Joe Burrow, who is No. 2 in the nation in passing yards a game with 355.3 and the favorite to win the first Heisman Trophy at LSU since 1959.
Moss' other teammates at LSU include wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who is No. 8 in the nation with 111.1 receiving yards a game; wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who is No. 14 in the nation in receptions per game with 6.9; and tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was Superman at No. 1 Alabama on Saturday as he gained 199 all-purpose yards in the Tigers' 46-41 win.
In LSU's 45-38 win at Texas when Burrow was 31-of-39 passing for 471 yards and four touchdowns, Moss caught one pass for 15 yards. In the Tigers' 66-38 win at Vanderbilt, when Burrow threw a school-record six touchdowns while completing 25 of 34 for 398 yards, Chase caught 10 passes with four of the touchdowns for 299 yards, which was fourth all-time at LSU. And Moss did not catch a pass.
But lately and incrementally, Moss is making a name for himself after the junior transfer from North Carolina State missed all of 2018 with injuries and all of 2017 because of NCAA transfer rules. He caught five passes for 39 yards with his first LSU touchdown against Utah State on Oct. 5. He caught a career-high seven passes for 45 yards against Auburn on Oct. 26.
But against Alabama on Saturday, he "Mossed" the Crimson Tide when he went all Amari Cooper with a toe tapping, acrobatic, 16-yard reception to the Tide's 1-yard line. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs had slightly and maybe inadvertently pushed Moss out of bounds with the ball in the air, but Moss got back in bounds and just kept his toes inside the boundary for the catch. The play was reviewed and stood.
"If an offensive player is forced out of bounds due to contact by a defender, the offensive player can re-establish his position on the field and make a legal catch," Southeastern Conference coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said in a statement moments after the play. "The receiver was forced out of bounds by contact. Replay confirmed the receiver re-established himself and completed the catch."
LSU scored three plays later for a 26-13 lead with 26 seconds to go before half as the play went viral on Twitter. But it was nothing Burrow had not already seen.
"He makes catches like that in practice," he said. "That was just another catch for Thad. Maybe it runs in the family, I don't know. I expect him to make that catch. That's why I threw him the ball."
Moss' dad Randy Moss, who is a studio analyst on ESPN's NFL Countdown, sure enjoyed watching it on television. And the Countdown crew surprised him by showing the play on the Sunday morning show.
"I want to give a shout out to the LSU Tigers on the big win in Tuscaloosa," Moss began. "Joe Burrow, you look great. Hey, son, I don't know all the rules in college football, and you had your daddy wondering, 'Is he in or out?'"
Then Moss approached the camera and put his face right in it while saying loudly, "I'm going to tell you what, Alabama, everybody in the stadium got MOSSED! Way to go, baby! That's a Moss. Yes, it's a catch. Way to go son."
Moss finished with six catches for 46 yards and is fourth on the team with 27 receptions for 292 yards in eight games — already ahead of current Oakland Raider tight end Foster Moreau, who led LSU tight ends with 22 for 272 yards last season before being drafted in the fourth round.
"You've got to cover Thad," Burrow said. "People have known that all year. That's why if we get one-on-one coverage on Thad, we're going to throw him the ball."
LSU coach Ed Orgeron was happy that Alabama got MOSSED, but he was particularly delighted that he didn't get jobbed in Tuscaloosa (57 miles from the SEC offices in Birmingham) by the SEC officials, who could have called it an incomplete pass with likely not much fallout. Watching live, it appeared Moss was out of bounds, and it is not a well known rule in addition.
"About time," Orgeron smiled at his press conference Monday. "Hey, when we got that call, I said, 'It's our day.' And I want to say, that was the best officiated game that I've ever been a part of. I thought those guys did a tremendous job officiating the game, and I called Steve and told him that."
Orgeron was then asked if Alabama center Landon Dickerson should have been ejected after being whistled for a personal foul on LSU linebacker Patrick Queen's interception later in the first half. In similar situations, players have been ejected.
"We haven't talked about it," Orgeron said laughing. "When we got that catch, when that catch was not overturned, I wasn't complaining about anything else, man."