for this game

Georgia rallies past Kentucky to keep alive SEC title hopes

Nov 18, 2007 - 12:50 AM ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Georgia did its part, but now the Bulldogs need help.

Freshman running back Knowshon Moreno surpassed 100 yards for the fifth straight week as the eighth-ranked Bulldogs kept alive their Southeastern Conference title hopes with a 24-13 victory over No. 22 Kentucky on Saturday.

Georgia (9-2, 6-2 SEC East) overcame a sluggish start and four turnovers to conclude conference play with a four-game winning streak.

The day ended in disappointing fashion for the Bulldogs, however, as Tennessee rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat Vanderbilt, 25-24, and remain in the driver's seat in the SEC East.

To capture the SEC East, Georgia needs Kentucky to defeat Tennessee (5-2) next week.

If Tennessee beats Kentucky, the Volunteers and Bulldogs will finish tied atop the division. But Tennessee holds the tiebreaker, based on a 35-14 victory over Georgia on October 6.

"We're at least co-SEC East champions," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "We still had an unbelievable year. Our conference play is done for now, though. Hopefully, we'll get one more game but even if not, it's been a heck of a year until this point."

Georgia concludes its regular season next week at Georgia Tech.

With so much at stake Saturday, Georgia surprisingly came out flat against Kentucky, managing only 75 yards on its first five possessions.

"It wasn't pretty, but it kept us alive," Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "Every game isn't going to be perfect."

The Wildcats (7-4, 3-4) converted three first-half turnovers into 10 points and led, 10-0, late in the second quarter.

"The turnovers didn't help," Richt said. "Our defensive line didn't put enough pressure on their quarterback early on."

However, Moreno, who rushed for 128 yards on 23 carries, sparked the Bulldogs' offense before halftime.

On its sixth possession, Georgia marched 80 yards on 13 plays, closing to 10-7 on Moreno's 1-yard TD run with 40 seconds left in the half.

A huge play by Georgia's special teams unit turned around the game early in the third quarter, as a blocked punt gave the Bulldogs possession at Kentucky's 19.

Georgia needed six plays to grab a 14-10 lead and take control of the game on Thomas Brown's 1-yard TD run with 10:30 left in the third period.

With all on the momentum of their side, the Bulldogs forced a three-and-out, then stretched their lead to 21-10 on quarterback Stafford's 10-yard TD scamper with 5:40 left in the third period.

Georgia wore down Kentucky in the second half with its power running, as senior Thomas Brown added 71 yards on 21 attempts.

"There's a lot of emotions going today," said Brown, who was playing his final home game. "Walking out there, you see all your family and friends. I was just trying to fight back tears."

The Bulldogs overcame a sub-par game by Stafford, who completed only 12-of-22 passes for 98 yards with two interceptions.

"Four turnovers aren't going to win many games," Stafford said. "The defense stepped up and bailed us out a bunch of times."

Andre' Woodson completed 24-of-41 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown for Kentucky. However, the Wildcats were held to 28 yards on the ground.

"Today hurt a lot," Woodson said. "Our execution on offense has been the problem recently and it was again today."

Still, Kentucky did not go quietly, pulling within 21-13 on Lones Seiber's 44-yard field goal with 4:27 left in the third quarter.

On Georgia's next possession, Kentucky linebacker Wesley Woodyard knocked the ball out of Brown's hands and recovered the fumble at Kentucky's 39-yard line.

But the Wildcats could not take advantage of the turnover and were forced to punt after picking up one first down.

"Today was definitely frustrating," Kentucky receiver Steve Johnson said. "We had plenty of opportunities, getting four turnovers, but we just can't be limited to three points off them."

Seiber missed a 51-yard field goal with 10:09 remaining in the contest, and Georgia put away the game on Brandon Coutu's 46-yard field goal with 2:09 to go.