for this game

Georgia survives late scare, edges South Carolina

Sep 14, 2008 - 2:00 AM COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) -- With its bid for a national title in dire straits, Georgia leaned on its defense.

Safety Reshad Jones' last-minute interception Saturday helped the second-ranked Bulldogs hold on for a 14-7 victory over South Carolina in their Southeastern Conference opener.

It marked the second time in as many years that the Gamecocks (1-2, 0-2 SEC East) gave the favored Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) all they could handle. Last year, South Carolina did not allow then-No. 11 Georgia to score a touchdown en route to a 16-12 victory in Athens.

"I can say with all honesty, my gut has (churned) more in this series, and on this field, than any other times since I have been at Georgia," Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt said. "Our defense knew they would have to rise up."

This year's contest also started inauspiciously for the Bulldogs, who did not find the end zone until Knowshon Moreno's 4-yard touchdown run gave Georgia the lead with 5:12 remaining in the third quarter.

Georgia's bend-but-don't-break defense did the rest, forcing a pair of pivotal turnovers while holding South Carolina scoreless on its last four possessions.

"We found a way to win, and I am so thankful," said Richt, who improved to 6-2 against the Gamecocks since becoming Georgia's coach. "We're 1-0 in the Southeastern Conference against an outstanding defense."

A redshirt sophomore, Jones sealed the victory when he intercepted Chris Smelley at Georgia's 3-yard line with 13 seconds remaining. The pick ended a drive that started on South Carolina's 9-yard line and was helped by two penalties called on the Bulldogs.

"It was a heartbreaker for us," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said. "But we'll get over it and bounce back. It just didn't work out."

It was the second turnover of the quarter for the Gamecocks, who missed a chance to tie the game when running back Mike Davis lost a fumble at Georgia's goal line with 8:40 remaining.

After breaking a tackle to get past the original line of scrimmage, Davis was drilled by linebacker Rennie Curran and lost the ball. The fumble was recovered in the end zone by cornerback Asher Allen, and the Bulldogs maintained their 14-7 lead.

"You know it was going to be a close game, period," Allen said. "I think hats off to both teams and both defenses. This score just shows the kind of ball that's played in the SEC."

Georgia's defense came up with another big stop with 3:30 remaining, when South Carolina turned it over on downs after Smelley uncorked a trio of incompletions at the Bulldogs 32-yard line.

South Carolina finished with 289 yards of total offense, including 271 through the air, and converted 20 first downs.

But the Gamecocks failed to capitalize on their scoring opportunities and fell to 14-45-2 all-time against the Bulldogs.

"All the numbers are great, but the point of the game is to score," said South Carolina wide receiver Moe Brown, who had career highs of seven catches for 130 yards and a TD. "We need to play more efficiently in the red zone."

While Georgia's defense was impressive, the Bulldogs' highly touted offense stalled throughout the afternoon.

Moreno finished with 79 yards on 20 carries while fellow Heisman Trophy hopeful Matthew Stafford completed just 15-of-25 passes for 146 yards. Stafford, who battled calf cramps in the fourth quarter, was sacked four times by South Carolina's swarming defense.

"We definitely had a few lapses in there that we can get worked out," Stafford said. "It was our first road game. ... I'm a little beat up, but I'm good to go."

Stafford and Moreno did come up with three crucial plays in the third quarter to give Georgia its first lead of the second half.

Stafford helped set up Georgia's only touchdown of the contest by scrambling up the middle for a 30-yard run to the South Carolina 4.

That set the stage for Moreno, who powered his way up the middle on the following play to give the Bulldogs a 12-7 advantage. Georgia converted the ensuing two-point attempt when Stafford found Kris Durham on a rollout pass.

"We had to score," Richt said. "Thankfully, we got the two. That could have made all the difference in the game."

Smelley, installed as South Carolina's starting quarterback after the season opener, completed 23-of-39 passes for 271 yards. His 34-yard TD to Brown gave the Gamecocks a 7-3 lead with 8:42 left in the first half.

"We had a chance to do something the Gamecocks have never done," Smelley said. "We know we're a good team. We need to put it all together and do what we're capable of."








  • NCAAF FINAL
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    GEORGIA (2) 0 6 8 0 14
    SOUTH CAROLINA 0 7 0 0 7 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: GEORGIA - FG, BLAIR WALSH 42 YD, 4:39.
    GEORGIA 3-0
    SOUTH CAROLINA - TD, MOE BROWN 34 YD PASS FROM
    CHRIS SMELLEY (RYAN SUCCOP
    KICK), 6:19. SOUTH CAROLINA
    7-3
    GEORGIA - FG, BL

    Sep 13 7:04 PM
  • mark woah, you're right--georgia's d is lookin pretty weak right now...

    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  4th - 0:33Sep 13 7:01 PM
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    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  4th - 1:48Sep 13 6:54 PM
  • lsrccrd upset is still very possible, go cocks!

    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  4th - 4:08Sep 13 6:49 PM
  • 66
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    RUWTbot Added 24 roots (Close Finish)

    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  4th - 4:08Sep 13 6:48 PM
  • 42
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    RUWTbot Added 22 roots (Close Finish)

    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  4th - 6:24Sep 13 6:42 PM
  • mark blah! i thought we had a good shot at an upset there...

    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  4th - 8:04Sep 13 6:39 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    GEORGIA (2) 0 6 8 14
    SOUTH CAROLINA 0 7 0 7 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: GEORGIA - FG, BLAIR WALSH 42 YD, 4:39.
    GEORGIA 3-0
    SOUTH CAROLINA - TD, MOE BROWN 34 YD PASS FROM
    CHRIS SMELLEY (RYAN SUCCOP
    KICK), 6:19. SOUTH CAROLINA
    7-3
    GEORGIA

    Sep 13 6:16 PM
  • 20
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    McTool Added 5 roots

    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  3rd - 1:39Sep 13 6:13 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD GEORGIA
    KNOWSHON MORENO 4 YD RUN
    (MATTHEW STAFFORD PASS TO KRIS DURHAM FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION)
    GEORGIA (2) 14
    SOUTH CAROLINA 7 5:22 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  3rd - 5:22Sep 13 6:01 PM
  • 15
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    RUWTbot Took away 121 roots

    Georgia(2) 14, South Carolina 7  3rd - 5:22Sep 13 6:01 PM
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    mark Added 5 roots

    Georgia(2) 6, South Carolina 7  3rd - 14:55Sep 13 5:35 PM
  • 131
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    WHester Added 5 roots

    Georgia(2) 6, South Carolina 7  HalfSep 13 5:12 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    GEORGIA (2) 0 6 6
    SOUTH CAROLINA 0 7 7 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: GEORGIA - FG, BLAIR WALSH 42 YD, 4:39.
    GEORGIA 3-0
    SOUTH CAROLINA - TD, MOE BROWN 34 YD PASS FROM
    CHRIS SMELLEY (RYAN SUCCOP
    KICK), 6:19. SOUTH CAROLINA
    7-3
    GEORGIA

    Georgia(2) 6, South Carolina 7  HalfSep 13 5:09 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 121 roots (Upset)

    Georgia(2) 6, South Carolina 7  HalfSep 13 5:09 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD SOUTH CAROLINA
    MOE BROWN 34 YD PASS FROM CHRIS SMELLEY
    (RYAN SUCCOP KICK)
    GEORGIA (2) 3
    SOUTH CAROLINA 7 8:41 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Georgia(2) 3, South Carolina 7  2nd - 8:41Sep 13 4:44 PM
  • rundog2293 mmm..

    Georgia(2) 3, South Carolina 0  2nd - 10:21Sep 13 4:33 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG GEORGIA
    BLAIR WALSH 42 YD
    GEORGIA (2) 3
    SOUTH CAROLINA 0 10:21 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Georgia(2) 3, South Carolina 0  2nd - 10:21Sep 13 4:31 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    GEORGIA (2) 0 0
    SOUTH CAROLINA 0 0 END, 1ST QTR

    Sep 13 4:20 PM
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    lsrccrd Added 5 roots

    Georgia(2) 0, South Carolina 0  1st - 2:48Sep 13 4:09 PM