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October 31, 2007
Knowshon didn't know much about the Georgia-Florida rivalry.
A redshirt freshman from Bedford, N.J., Georgia's Knowshon Moreno hadn't been exposed to nearly 17 years of futility for Georgia in the series.
A tailback with a short memory turned out to be just what Georgia needed to turn the tide in the Bulldogs' rivalry with Florida. The Gators are 15-5 against Georgia in Moreno's lifetime.
Moreno rushed for a career-high 188 yards and three touchdowns and put a damper on Florida's SEC East title hopes in a 42-30 victory to earn Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week honors.
"I wasn't really aware (of the Georgia-Florida history)," Moreno said. "I heard about it, but it wasn't a big deal to me."
In the process, Moreno put Georgia back into the race for the SEC East title. At 4-2 in the conference, Georgia still needs to win its remaining games and needs Tennessee to lose once for a chance to go to the SEC title game. More of the same from Moreno would inspire optimism in Athens, Ga. Moreno has run for 345 yards on 61 carries the past two games, both against SEC East opponents.
His emergence couldn't have come at a better time for the Bulldogs.
Georgia went into the season using a three-man rotation at tailback before seniors Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin were sidelined by injuries. Behind Moreno, who had been a solid contributor in the rotation, the injuries left little depth at tailback. There was seldom-used senior Jason Johnson and true freshman Caleb King, who is redshirting.
Johnson carried the ball once against Florida, and there was no need to burn King's redshirt.
It was an unexpected result against a defense that had allowed just one other team (LSU) to rush for more than 100 yards.
"They're a really good defense," Moreno said. "The offensive line did a good job blocking. They opened up some big holes."
In the process, Moreno sparked the two biggest Georgia celebrations of the day. His first touchdown run set off a bench-clearing celebration at the goal line, which resulted in two personal-foul penalties on the Bulldogs. The outburst set the tone for Georgia for the rest of the game, which ended on another Moreno touchdown.
Georgia's lead was cut to 35-30 after a touchdown run by Tim Tebow with 9:40 left. Moreno then took over, running seven times for 32 yards on the ensuing drive, which lasted 5:46 and ended in a 3-yard touchdown run by Moreno.
It was exactly the kind of drive Georgia needed at the time, but just like the history of the Florida-Georgia series, Moreno didn't put too much thought into the big-picture implications.
"I didn't do anything out of the (ordinary)," Moreno said. "I wasn't really putting extra pressure on myself."
OTHER NOMINEES FOR FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK:
QB Cody Hawkins, Colorado
TB LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh
QB Jake Locker, Washington