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October 25, 2008BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)-Georgia coach Mark Richt once called the Tiger Stadium crowd the loudest he'd ever heard.
Knowshon Moreno may remember Death Valley more for the hush he caused with his tackle-breaking 68-yard touchdown run.
Moreno's long scoring run late in the third quarter gave ninth-ranked Georgia a three-touchdown lead, and the Bulldogs held on for a 52-38 victory over No. 11 LSU on Saturday that sent many Tigers fans to the exits early.
The game showcased two of the best running backs in the Southeastern Conference, and neither disappointed. Moreno gained 163 yards, while LSU's Charles Scott gained 144 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1) had a big edge at quarterback, however, with the experienced Matthew Stafford calmly delivering clutch throws, none better than his 49-yard touchdown to fantastic freshman A.J. Green while the Tigers brought heavy pressure on third-and-10.
Stafford was 17-of-26 for 249 yards and two touchdowns passing, and also ran for a 7-yard score in the fourth quarter while improving to 24-5 as a starter.
LSU's tandem of first-year quarterbacks appeared to lack the big-game savvy to match the performance of Georgia's junior.
Freshman Jarrett Lee threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns of 40 and 53 yards by Georgia linebacker Darryl Gamble. Lee was 14-of-28 for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Andrew Hatch took a couple of drive-stalling sacks and could not move the Tigers consistently against a Georgia defense that returned nine starters this season.
The loss was a devastating one for LSU (5-2, 3-2), which still does not have a victory over a team currently ranked in the Top 25 and will have to get help to catch SEC West leading Alabama.
Georgia, meanwhile, can take the SEC East lead by beating Florida in Jacksonville next weekend.
Green, who is Georgia's leading receiver, did not have a catch until his touchdown in the third quarter. He finished with three receptions for a team-high 89 yards.
LSU receiver Brandon LaFell had 62 yards receiving and two touchdowns, while running back Keiland Williams had 113 total yards, including 83 yards and one TD receiving.
The Tigers, whose strength is their running game, looked to surprise the Bulldogs with a pass on the game's first play from scrimmage. What happened instead was Lee's third of what is now four interceptions returned for touchdowns in his last four games. Gamble grabbed the pass in the flat and scored easily.
On its next drive, LSU did perhaps what it should have done from the outset. Scott carried four times for 41 yards, setting up the tying touchdown on a middle screen from Lee to LaFell on third-and-goal from the 10.
Georgia's offense needed only one series to make its mark. Stafford converted two third-down passes and Moreno made a third-and-1 during a 78-yard drive that ended with fullback Fred Muzenmaier's 1-yard plunge into the end zone.
Moreno ran for 47 yards on the first play of Georgia's next drive, setting up a touchdown on a 5-yard fade that Stafford and receiver Kenneth Harris made look easy for a 21-7 lead.
LSU responded with Colt David's 51-yard field goal, which gave David an LSU-record 320 career points, passing former Tiger running back Kevin Faulk's 318.
After stopping Georgia for the first time, Scott's 2-yard run pulled LSU to 21-17.
Following another stop, LSU appeared to have the momentum, but Lee threw a first-down pass into double coverage and was intercepted by Reshad Jones. That led to Blair Walsh's 50-yard field goal, giving Georgia a 24-17 lead at halftime.
Green's and Moreno's touchdowns made it 38-17, leaving the defending national champs in too deep a hole to pull out the type of fourth-quarter comeback the Tigers seemed so good at last year.