Georgia's Moreno ready for the big stage

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The Georgia football program has been a factory for great running backs.

You could start all the way back in the 1940s with Frank Sinkwich and Charley Trippi and fast forward to the guy wearing No. 24 present day.

Where does Knowshon Moreno stack up?

Well, consider this: He already has 762 rushing yards this season and has at least six more games to play, counting a bowl game. He would join Herschel Walker as the only players in Georgia history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
Most would agree that's pretty exclusive company, especially when you consider some of the running backs to come through this program.

Lars Tate, Rodney Hampton, Garrison Hearst, Tim Worley, Terrell Davis, Robert Edwards and Thomas Brown all left their marks.

Moreno is leaving a bigger mark, maybe the biggest since Walker.

"I think he's one of those guys who could play just about anywhere on the field and still be the best guy out there," Georgia senior receiver Mohamed Massaquoi said.

Moreno's already generated plenty of highlights this season. He's easily one of the most exciting players in the SEC, not to mention one of the most recognizable nationally.

But the next couple of weeks will determine where he rates with some of the great ones to come through Georgia. They remember how you play in the big games, and none are any bigger this season than LSU this Saturday and Florida in two weeks.

"I'm still working to get better each and every week," Moreno said. "As long as we're winning, I don't really care. I'm just going to help the team out any way I can."

The best way he can do that is pick up where he left off against Vanderbilt. Moreno had a season-high 172 yards against the Commodores and has rushed for 100 yards in each of his last two games. He was held in check earlier this season against the first two SEC defenses he faced -- South Carolina and Alabama.

He won't see a more talented defense than the one he's going to face Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

"There are a lot of guys on that defense that are NFL players," Moreno said.

One of the things that has helped Moreno the last two weeks is that he's been a more patient runner. He's also had to adjust to all the all changes up front. Because of injuries, Georgia's offensive line has been in a constant state of flux.

"Those guys are getting better, and I'm letting the game come to me more," Moreno said. "It's really easy when wide receivers are blocking 20 yards downfield and the offensive line is opening up big holes for you."

The emergence of freshman receiver A.J. Green and his ability to stretch the field has also helped Moreno. It's more difficult for defenses to stack the line.

"Having both aspects of the game helps everybody," Moreno said.

LSU has one of the most physical defenses in the league and will no doubt do everything it can to keep Moreno from getting going similar to the way Alabama did.

But Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran warns that Moreno gives as good as he gets.

"He's hardly ever the first one to take that hit," Curran said. "He's the one who gives the hit. He's definitely a punishing runner."