Stafford, No. 23 Georgia Rolls Over Western Carolina, 45-16

Saturday, September 15th 2007, 3:40 pm
By: News On 6

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Georgia, held without a touchdown last week for the first time in six years, struggled early before enjoying an offensive revival against Western Carolina.

Matthew Stafford threw two second-quarter scoring passes and No. 23 Georgia recovered from the offensive malaise to beat Western Carolina 45-16 on Saturday.

Stafford lost a fumble on a sack during a sloppy opening quarter which ended 3-3. The Bulldogs pulled away with three second-quarter touchdowns.

Georgia (2-1), held out of the end zone for the first time since 2001 in last week's 16-12 loss to South Carolina, received a needed confidence boost while giving Western Carolina (0-3) its 12th straight loss.

Stafford was 14-for-20 for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Backup Joe Cox added a 34-yard scoring pass and three running backs ran for touchdowns.

Georgia freshman Knowshon Moreno rushed for 94 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown run. Thomas Brown caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Stafford and scored on a 4-yard run, and Brannan Southerland added a 2-yard scoring run.

Jonathan Parsons kicked field goals of 29, 40 and 46 yards for Western Carolina, which lost to another Southeastern Conference team, Alabama, 52-6 in its opener.

Georgia held Western Carolina to 63 yards rushing on 33 carries.

Stafford threw scoring passes to Brown and Sean Bailey in the second quarter. Stafford left after leading his fourth straight touchdown drive for a 31-9 lead to open the second half.

Georgia led 45-9 when Mike Malone's 2-yard run capped Western Carolina's late nine-play touchdown drive. Backup quarterback Adam Hearns, who was 10-for-14 for 122 yards, led the drive.

Georgia opened the game with an 11-play drive, but settled for Brandon Coutu's 37-yard field goal.

On the Bulldogs' second possession, Western Carolina's Gene Singletary forced a fumble when sacking Stafford. The Catamounts took over at the Georgia 14, setting up Parsons' first field goal.

Georgia scored its first touchdown on Stafford's screen pass to Brown. Stafford then directed a quick, four-play touchdown drive with four straight completions: 22 yards to Mohamed Massaquoi, 17 to Bailey, 8 to Mikey Henderson and 15 to Bailey for the touchdown.