Bulldogs Open Year With 45-21 Win Over Georgia Southern

Daniel SpratlinContributor ISeptember 2, 2008

The top-ranked Georgia football team opened the 2008 season with a 45-21 victory over Georgia Southern on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

The Bulldogs (1-0) got three touchdown runs from tailback Knowshon Moreno and a career-high 275 yards passing from quaterback Matthew Stafford.

Georgia rolled up 535 total yards while holding the Eagles (0-1) to 290. The Bulldogs built a 38-0 lead before Georgia Southern got on the board.

"We got the victory, and that's a great thing for Georgia," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "If you had told me before the game what the outcome would be, regardless of what the score would be, I would have taken it. I was pleased with the victory. I am happy to win, even though we made some mistakes. But there were a lot of good things that happened, too. As coaches, when things don't go the way we want, we get bent out of shape, but the victory is good. We'll correct the mistakes and hopefully do a better job next week."

Moreno gained 59 yards on eight carries, including scoring runs of two, three and 23 yards. He also had two receptions for 53 yards. Tailback Caleb King led the Bulldogs with 95 yards in his Georgia debut.

Stafford went 13-of-21 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He had scoring passes of 61 yards to receiver Kris Durham and five yards to receiver Demiko Goodman. Reserve quarterback Joe Cox went 4-for-6 for 48 yards, including a 4-yard scoring toss to receiver A.J. Green.

Georgia's other points came on a 52-yard field goal by kicker Blair Walsh. That was the longest field goal by a Georgia freshman in Athens. Walsh also kicked all six extra points.

Tackle Corvey Irvin and linebacker Darryl Gamble paced Georgia with six tackles each. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe added five tackles and an interception in the end zone to thwart a Georgia Southern scoring chance.

The Sanford Stadium crowd had some early electricity thanks to the first appearance by new mascot Uga VII in a pregame ceremony.

Georgia will entertain Central Michigan next Saturday.