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South Carolina can't spoil it for Georgia

September 14, 2008|From the Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The yards were tough to come by and the points even tougher for Georgia -- as usual when the Bulldogs play South Carolina.

But these Dawgs play big-time defense too, and that's what kept them undefeated on Saturday.

Knowshon Moreno's sliding four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter put the No. 2 Bulldogs ahead and the defense kept turning the Gamecocks back for a 14-7 victory.

Georgia (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) forced two turnovers by South Carolina (1-2, 0-2) in the fourth quarter.

"That shows us we can play when it's on the line," defensive tackle Corvey Irvin said. "When adversity strikes, who's going to step up and be the leader, be the man? Our team stepped up today."

The first time came with about eight minutes left and South Carolina on the Georgia two-yard line. Tailback Mike Davis tried to leap the pile when linebacker Rennie Curran jarred the ball loose and into the arms of cornerback Asher Allen.

"I tell you, it looked real big," Allen said, smiling.

South Carolina got a final chance and drove to the Georgia 17. That's when Reshad Jones sealed things, intercepting Chris Smelley's pass with 13 seconds left at the three.

"We just wanted to keep fighting, keep grinding until the clock said zero-zero," Jones said.

The Bulldogs held South Carolina to 18 yards in 16 rushes. They also made sure the Gamecocks didn't ruin a shot at a championship season for a second straight year.

Georgia had all off-season to remember how last September's 16-12 loss to South Carolina likely kept them from playing for the SEC and national titles.

"They kind of ruined our dreams last year, stopping us from the SEC championship and the national," Irvin said. "This year, we don't have to worry."

For much of this one, it looked as if the Gamecocks might do it again as the Bulldogs trailed, 7-6, midway through the third quarter.

But Moreno, who finished with 79 yards in 20 carries, gave them the lead when he ran left, took a hard cut up the middle and, with his feet sliding out from under him, steadied himself with his right hand before slipping through for his seventh touchdown of the year.

Matthew Stafford converted the two-point try on a pass to Kris Durham and Georgia led, 14-7.

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