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richt turns dogs loose in win over gators..


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moreno rushes for 188 yards on 33 carries

by carter strickland

the atlanta journal-constitution

published on: 10/28/07 jacksonville people have come to expect certain things from georgia and mark richt.

there has always been an unflagging steadiness about the coach and his program. each was a reflection of the other. they are going to win some games, lose a few along the way, but comport themselves with more than a modicum of decency and composure through it all.

all heck c'mon it is still richt broke loose saturday and georgia finally joined what used to be one of college football's best rivalries.

unbridled and unabashed, no. 20 georgia (6-2, 4-2) stomped all over no. 9 florida (5-3, 3-3) 42-30 in front of 84,481 fans saturday at jacksonville municipal stadium.

go back and read that score again. after all, georgia fans have waited for a result like that for decades. florida had won 15 of the past 17. georgia, which has reemerged as an sec east division contender, now has a streak of one.

it also has a new coach.

richt apparently digging back into his early 80s miami roots decided to toss aside his staid personality and channel ray lewis. not since pat boone-went-metal has such a transformation taken place.

seriously, check this out: the first touchdown georgia scored, the one it scored after running nine straight times, richt pushed his team back on the field for a celebration the whole team.

suddenly, a mosh pit erupted on the field with 70 players after running back knowshon moreno went in from the 1 with 4:54 left in the first quarter. it was followed by a littering of penalty flags.

"i told them if they didn't get a [celebration] penalty after the first touchdown i was going to run every one of them at 5:45 a.m.," richt said.

florida coach urban meyer said he looked up, saw the sea of red and thought it was a fight.

turned out florida was in for one.

"we usually are a reflection of our bossman and he shows that emotion we are 'what?' " said cornerback thomas flowers. "i could just see it in his eyes, burning up in his eyes. he wants us to be fired up, and he is fired up. shoot, that is what happens."

each player was told to let his personality, his heart, show during the game. by doing that, an energy and intensity level spiked.

each player matched the other's energy. moreno would make a play. quarterback matthew stafford would match it. defensive end marcus howard would get a sack. linebacker rennie curran would match it.

"you don't want to be out of control," said cornerback asher allen. "but you want yourself to show."

"we game-planned energy as much as we did x's and o's," richt said.

georgia was inspired on both offense and defense. the defense, maligned after the 35-14 debacle at tennessee, gave tim tebow the breathing room of a casket. the quarterback was sacked six times. he had been sacked five times all season. tebow, the team's leading rusher, netted minus-15 yards.

"we knew right from the get go that if we a stop tebow and [percy] harvin that was it," curran said. "we knew that was their offense, and we knew that was who we had to stop."

the offense, uninspired in two other sec games this season, worked moreno for his second consecutive 100-plus yard game. he finished with 33 carries for 188 yards.

stafford hit mohamed massaquoi for an 84-yard touchdown, georgia's longest since 2003. not satisfied, and not looking like the player whose light hadn't shone as brightly as tebow's, stafford went up top again to mikey henderson for a 53-yard breathing-room touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

"i've been waiting on this," said stafford, who was 11-of-18 for 217 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. "i feel like i haven't played as well as i could lately."

thing was, after henderson's touchdown made the score 35-24, georgia exhaled. the fans gasped.

florida went tit-for-tat with georgia, and the bulldogs, as they are wont to do against this team, helped the gators' cause.

brandon james busted a 52-yard kickoff return, tebow hit harvin for 33 yards, and 1 minutes, 23 seconds after it was an 11-point georgia lead it was 35-30 after a failed two-point conversion.

finally georgia mustered the intestinal fortitude necessary. the bulldogs, steeled by the nerves of a suddenly mature stafford and supported by the legs of a redshirt freshman, drove 68 yards on 11 plays and took ultimate control with 3:54 left when moreno dove in from 3.

"we talked just before the game about this being 40-40," stafford said. "we had to put up 40 points in 40 minutes."

now the fans could exhale. and it was a long time in coming, especially considering what took place for the majority of the game and quite frankly the majority of many fans' lives.

but this was about living in the moment. there were a few that were dicey.

in the second quarter stafford threw an interception to wondy pierre-louis for a touchdown. before that score, the georgia secondary allowed louis murphy to wander alone into the end zone while tebow took his time finding him.

those two plays equaled out georgia's first-quarter touchdowns from moreno and massaquoi. georgia struck back with moreno, assisted by chester adams. the redshirt freshman bounced off the girth of the senior guard, changed his direction and changed the scoreboard, 21-17.

for the time since 2004, georgia had a halftime lead. it grew larger as georgia went 69 yards to start the second half and went up 28-17.

and for the first time since that year, georgia danced on the field afterward.

"this is the greatest feeling," said redshirt freshman tony wilson as he ran from the field. "there are going to be more of these."

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