for this game

Moreno helps Georgia hold off Vanderbilt

Oct 18, 2008 - 11:49 PM ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Knowshon Moreno evidently wants back in the Heisman Trophy race.

Moreno rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown to lead ninth-ranked Georgia to a 24-14 triumph over No. 23 Vanderbilt on Saturday in a Southeastern Conference showdown.

Matthew Stafford passed for 194 yards and a pair of scores with two interceptions while freshman AJ Green hauled in seven receptions for 132 yards and a TD for the Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC East).

"It was big for us," Stafford said. "We stalled out on offense a couple of times and shot ourselves in the foot with missed opportunities. We had some bad plays here and there, but we battled. I'm proud of the guys."

Holding a 21-14 lead, Georgia sealed the win with 2:08 left, stopping the Commodores on a fourth down. Facing a fourth-and-4, Mackenzi Adams completed a 3-yard pass over the middle to Jamie Graham, who was immediately tackled by linebacker Rennie Curran.

"We were confident in ourselves," Curran said. "We were looking around, and each one of us has trust in each other. We all worked hard during the week, and we weren't hesitant about making plays."

Adams tossed two touchdowns to Graham but was intercepted twice for Vanderbilt (5-2, 3-2), which has dropped two straight games after winning its first five contests of the season.

A preseason Heisman candidate, Moreno averaged 7.5 yards on his 23 carries.

"We all know what Knowshon can do and Caleb (King) has been running the ball well all season," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "It's important to have a guy come off the bench who can be productive. We know we've got two guys who are ready to rock and roll."

Moreno had faded from Heisman consideration over the last few weeks, rushing for 135 yards and one touchdown over the previous two games. But Moreno was nothing but impressive in this one.

Moreno gave the Bulldogs a 21-7 advantage early in the third quarter, scoring on an 11-yard rush with 12:12 remaining. It appeared that Moreno reached the end zone on the previous play, but the referees ruled his knee was down at the 11.

Vanderbilt responded less than six minutes later when Adams completed an 8-yard TD strike to Graham to close the deficit to 21-14. But Moreno helped Georgia maintain possession and run out most of the clock.

"This was a tough game and a tough place to play against a tough team," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said. "We gave them too many opportunities on offense, and we didn't make plays defensively. We played well, but we missed tackles defensively."

With Moreno's help, the Bulldogs set up kicker Blair Walsh with a 37-yard attempt that hit the upright and gave the Commodores one last chance with 2:50 left.

After Vanderbilt failed to get a first down, Walsh connected on a 39-yard field goal to provide the final margin.