Moreno romps for 80-yard TD as Georgia runs over Troy
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Herschel Walker has company in Georgia's freshman 1,000-yard club.
Knowshon Moreno rushed for 196 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 10 Georgia past Troy 44-34 on Saturday.
Twenty-seven years after Walker's historic debut season, Moreno joined the Georgia great as the only freshmen in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
Moreno's second straight three-TD 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. Walker rushed for 1,616 yards to lead Georgia to the 1980 national championship.
"It feels good," Moreno said. "It's a team thing, so it's an accomplishment for them. We're just doing a great job as a team, staying focused."
Moreno is Georgia's first 1,000-yard rusher since Musa Smith in 2002. Moreno was also close to becoming the Bulldogs' first back with 200 yards in a game since Verron Haynes had 207 against Georgia Tech in 2001.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said he didn't realize Moreno was so close to 200 yards, but he said the freshman already had enough glory for one day.
"He'd want to have something to look forward to," Richt said. "He's only a freshman."
Moreno has helped Georgia (7-2) survive injuries to tailbacks Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin. Moreno ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns in last week's 42-30 win over Florida and has 541 yards rushing in his last three games.
Now he's helped the Bulldogs survive a game effort from a potent Troy team.
The Trojans (6-3) from the Sun Belt Conference 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.
Troy was booed by the Georgia homecoming crowd as coach Larry Blakeney called three timeouts on his team's final possession. Backup quarterback Jamie Hampton threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jerrel Jernigan with 6 seconds left.
"The crowd that stayed booed us for trying to execute, which was funny," Blakeney said. "I think we certainly had the potential to win, and I doubt we'll get any quick invites back here."
Blakeney compared Moreno with Arkansas' running backs, saying the freshman is "a great back, not quite a [Darren] McFadden but definitely a Felix Jones."
Entering Saturday's games, Moreno trailed only McFadden and Jones among SEC rushing leaders.
Omar Haugabook, whose status this week 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.
Haugabook's 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter cut Georgia's lead to 34-27.
Georgia 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 to make it 24-10.
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 did a good job," said Georgia cornerback Asher Allen, who intercepted a pass in the first quarter. "They were spreading us out a lot. A lot of their passing yards came from screens, but we still have to make sure we stop them."
Haugabook's 44-yard touchdown pass to Kennard Burton cut Georgia's lead to 24-20.
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.
Moreno made up for his mistake soon after, taking the ball on first down from the 20 and breaking through the line for an 80-yard touchdown run that ended with the freshman beating Troy's Leodis McKelvin with a side-step near the 10.
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