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Sun Devils fall to Bulldogs, 27-10

September 20, 2008

Knowshon Moreno rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns, A.J. Green caught eight passes for 159 yards and a score, and No. 3 Georgia scored a decisive 27-10 victory over Arizona State on Saturday night.

Making a rare regular-season trip out of the Southeast, the Bulldogs (4-0) came to the desert with an attitude. They had opened the season atop The Associated Press Top 25 but twice slipped a spot after victories.

On a 99-degree night in the desert, they hoped to make a statement in a nationally televised game against the defending Pac-10 co-champions.

The statement: these Dawgs can defend.

Georgia had allowed 15.0 points per game, tied for 27th nationally. The Bulldogs were even better against the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils finished with 4 yards rushing on 19 carries. It was Arizona State's lowest rushing total since they netted minus-2 against California on Nov. 9, 2002.

For the Sun Devils, who lost to UNLV one week earlier, it was another crushing loss in the national spotlight. They fell to 2-11 against ranked teams in Sun Devil Stadium since 2000, and 3-23 overall against the Top 25 during the same span.

Georgia sacked Rudy Carpenter four times and harried him on countless other plays. He finished 23 of 36 for 208 yards and a touchdown.

Georgia's suffocating defense helped it overcome 104 yards in penalty yards.

Trailing 21-3 at halftime, the Sun Devils took the second-half kickoff and marched 71 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 6-yard pass from Carpenter to Andrew Pettes.

The Bulldogs answered with a 29-yard field goal by Blair Walsh to push their lead back to 24-10 heading into the final quarter. Walsh made it 27-10 with a 22-yarder midway through the fourth quarter.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Bulldogs scored three touchdowns in the second quarter.

Georgia's first score was a Youtube-worthy run by tailback Knowshon Moreno on the first play of the second quarter. Moreno took a handoff at Arizona State's 9, sped around right end and catapulted into the end zone from the 4.

The Bulldogs' next score came after a fumble by Arizona State tailback Dimitri Nance at the Sun Devils 46. Five plays later, Moreno burst through a gaping hole in the middle of the line for a 3-yard TD to put the Bulldogs ahead 14-0.

Arizona State trimmed the lead to 14-3 on a 25-yard field goal by Thomas Weber. The kick capped a 10-play 75-yard drive - and 40 of the yards came on Georgia penalties.

That score stirred the home fans. But Georgia responded in a heartbeat.

Matthew Stafford hit Green for 23 yards. Then he found Green between two defenders for a 31-yard reception. Three plays later, a wide-open Green caught a 14-yard pass in the end zone for a 21-0 Georgia lead.

Stafford completed 16-of-28 passes for 285 yards and a touchdown. He has not thrown an interception this year.

The lightning drive took 1:49, covering 70 yards in five plays, and it brought the thousands of Georgia fans out of their seats.

Georgia faithful flocked to the team's first regular-season trip to the West since a 1960 visit to Los Angeles to play Southern California. After Georgia quickly sold out its allotment of more than 7,000 tickets, and a request for more was denied, Bulldogs fans began buying ASU season tickets to ensure themselves seats for this game. Red-clad fans dominated the end zone upper deck of the 71,706-seat stadium.