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Mozes needs to lead way for WVU |

Mozes needs to lead way for WVU

| Friday, December 16, 2005 12:00 a.m

West Virginia All-American center Dan Mozes doesn’t do anything in a quiet way.

Mozes, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound Washington native, apologized to the entire state Thursday after he was cited by Morgantown, W.Va., police Saturday for loud and unnecessary noise and dealing in stolen goods.

Police said they found a street sign, which is public property, in the residence Mozes shares with senior safety Mile Lorello.

Police were investigating a complaint from Mozes’ party celebrating the Mountaineers’ first Big East football championship in 12 years.

“You just have to get past that,” Mozes said yesterday in a conference call. “I apologized to the team and apologized to the state of West Virginia for embarrassing the program.”

Mozes faces a Jan. 11 arraignment the misdemeanor charges.

Mozes, a junior just named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press, said the citation will be on his mind during preparations for West Virginia’s Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl date against Georgia in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome ( tickets ) .

West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said Mozes will play in the Sugar Bowl, but he won’t walk away from the incident. He’ll pay for it in practice.

“Dan is paying the price for it this week, and next week, and the week after for his mistake,” Rodriguez said.

Mozes said he expects to be in top shape for the Sugar Bowl.

“I’ll have to do a lot of extra running,” he said. “What happened, happened. It was something stupid that happened, and it was my fault.”

Once Mozes puts it behind him, he expects to have his hands full blocking Georgia’s defense. The eighth-ranked Bulldogs are led by 6-foot-5, 248-pound defensive end Quentin Moses and 6-2, 214-pound safety Greg Blue.

“We’ve faced great teams in past bowl games, but from what I’ve seen on film, we’ve never really seen anything like what we’re about to face,” Mozes said.

Mozes said, far from being discouraged, the Mountaineers are challenged by their 0-3 record in bowl games since Rodriguez took over in 2001.

“We’ve lost every bowl game, and that gives you the hunger for it,” Mozes said. “You kind of want to be that first bowl team to (break the streak). Whether you’re a junior, senior or freshman, you want to go out on top.

“We want to go out on top.”

Mozes earned All American honors despite moving from guard after the Mountaineers’ second game against Wofford. He made All-American after playing only eight games at center.

“I was surprised,” he said. “Not playing the whole year at center, I was pretty surprised by that.”

While Mozes has great respect for Georgia, he’s not in awe of any opponent.

“We have to come into the game against Georgia with a hungrier attitude,” Mozes said. “Even when you’re faced with a great team, you still have to have an expectation to win. You have to have that mentality that you can play with anybody, and that’s the kind of mentality we have to have going into this game.”

While Georgia’s defense has allowed only 20 touchdowns (13 rushing, 7 passing) all season, the Mountaineers rank fifth nationally in rushing offense with an average of 265.5 yards per game.

“What they do on defense is spectacular,” Mozes said. “You can tell they’re a top 10 team in the nation by the size they have, the speed they have. The way they move with that size shows a lot about the team they have. You can tell why they’re (Southeastern Conference) champions.”

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