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Bulldogs overcome slow start, fumbles to beat Troy

POSTED: November 7, 2007 5:05 a.m.
ATHENS — There was no need to worry about an early Georgia celebration.

Knowshon Moreno became the first Georgia freshman since Herschel Walker to run for 1,000 yards, going for 196 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 10 Bulldogs worked hard into the final quarter to handle Troy 44-34 on Saturday.

Moreno’s second straight three-touchdown game was highlighted by an 80-yard first-quarter touchdown run, Georgia’s longest in 10 years.

He added two 1-yard scoring runs in the second half and helped the Bulldogs recover after they fumbled away the ball on their first two possessions.

Moreno ended the day with 1,003 yards rushing this season to become only the second Georgia freshman to run for 1,000 yards. Walker rushed for 1,616 yards in 1980.

The Trojans (6-3) fell to 0-3 against the Southeastern Conference this season despite scoring a combined total of 81 points in the losses to Arkansas, Florida and Georgia.

Omar Haugabook, whose status coming into the game was uncertain due to a hamstring injury, was 29-of-45 passing for 310 yards and two touchdowns for Troy. He threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

Troy backup quarterback Jamie Hampton threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jerrel Jernigan with 6 seconds left.

Haugabook’s 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter cut Georgia’s lead to 34-27.

Georgia (7-2) answered with Brandon Coutu’s third field goal, from 26 yards, and Moreno’s third touchdown run.

Georgia drew two penalties when its entire team ran on the field to celebrate the team’s first touchdown in last week’s 42-30 win over Florida. There were no full-team celebrations against Troy, though receiver Sean Bailey was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after his 20-yard touchdown catch in the first half.

Georgia’s Matthew Stafford was 17-of-29 passing for 217 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Stafford threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tripp Chandler with 45 seconds left in the first half. After Troy fumbled the kickoff return and Georgia’s Akeem Dent recovered at the Trojans’ 43, Stafford threw the 20-yard scoring pass to Bailey.

Moreno’s 80-yard run was Georgia’s longest since Robert Edwards went 80 against Kentucky in 1997.

The teams combined for more than 950 total yards — 488 for Troy and 465 for Georgia. Troy committed four turnovers.

Troy scored the first 10 points of the second half.

Cornerback Elbert Mack’s interception in the end zone of Stafford’s pass set up an 80-yard scoring drive for the Trojans. Haugabook’s 44-yard touchdown pass to Kennard Burton cut Georgia’s lead to 24-20.

Georgia lost only one fumble in its first eight games before losing two fumbles in the first three minutes Saturday.

Moreno fumbled on his first carry. David McDowell recovered for Troy at the Georgia 26, setting up a 25-yard field goal by Greg Whibbs.

Georgia fullback Brannon Southerland fumbled following a catch on the Bulldogs’ second possession, giving Troy the ball at the Georgia 35. Whibbs was good on a 49-yard field goal, but a false-start penalty took the points off the board. Instead of trying again from 54 yards, he punted into the end zone.

Following the punt, Moreno took the ball on first down from the 20 and broke through the line for an 80-yard touchdown run that ended with the freshman beating Troy cornerback Leodis McKelvin with a side-step near the 10.



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