UGA edges Vanderbilt 20-17

Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 10:22pm

Brandon Coutu kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift 24th-ranked Georgia to a 20-17 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday before a sellout homecoming crowd at Vanderbilt Stadium.

The Bulldogs' game-winning drive came after Commodores tailback Cassen Jackson-Garrison fumbled the ball away at the Georgia 18-yard line with 2:43 remaining.

A year ago, Vanderbilt defeated Georgia in similar fashion when kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt booted a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds of a 24-22 victory.

"Last year we beat them with a field goal, and this year it happened to us," VU cornerback D.J. Moore said.

Vanderbilt fell to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in Southeastern Conference play. Georgia improved to 5-2 and 3-2.

"We felt like we played a pretty good game, but when you play teams like Georgia, you have to make plays and do what you need to do to win, and we didn't get it done," VU coach Bobby Johnson said.

Chris Nickson and Mackenzi Adams alternated at quarterback throughout the evening, with Nickson getting the start, after they competed for the starting job this week in practice. Adams ended up playing more, completing seven of 10 passes. Nickson completed two of five.

Freshman tailback Knowshon Moreno sparked the Georgia offense with 157 rushing yards, with 123 coming in the second half as the Bulldogs rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit.

"It wasn't a case to us falling behind to a team that wasn't a good team," UGA coach Mark Richt said. "We were down 10 to a good football team. I'm proud of our players for coming back and I'm thankful for the victory."

Vanderbilt wide receiver Earl Bennett, needing seven catches to become the SEC's career all-time receiver, caught three passes Saturday. However, he did move into second place on the SEC list with 205 career receptions, passing former Georgia receiver Terrence Edwards at the No. 2 slot.

GOLD NUGGETS Vanderbilt linebacker Patrick Benoist made his first career start. ...Moore played briefly on offense at wide receiver and had two rushes for 48 yards. ...Cornerback Myron Lewis tied a career high with three pass breakups. ...Punter Brett Upson averaged 44.2 yards on six punts. ...Bennett was held under four receptions in a game for the first time since Oct. 8, 2005.

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