Stafford leads Georgia past Spartans

Published 3:42 am Friday, January 2, 2009

By Staff
ORLANDO, Fla. – Matthew Stafford rebounded from a slow start to lead No. 16 Georgia over No. 19 Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl on Thursday, 24-12.
Stafford, who many believe could be the No. 1 pick in the National Football League draft if he chooses to come out this year, was just 6-of-14 with an interception in the first half.
But in the final 30 minutes, Stafford caught fire and led the Bulldogs back from a 6-3 halftime deficit.
Stafford, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player, was 14-of-17 with three touchdowns in an 18-minute span.
Stafford hit Michael Moore with a 35-yard score in the third quarter and Aron White with a 21-yard scoring strike.
Stafford then sealed the victory for the Bulldogs with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Knowshon Moreno.
Michigan State (9-4) had numerous chances in the first half to take control of the game, but only managed at pair of Brett Swenson field goals in the opening half.
Trailing 17-6 in the fourth quarter, Michigan State drove 54 yards in 10 plays to cut the lead to 17-12 when Javon Ringer scored on a 1-yard run.
The Spartans went for two following the touchdown, however, Brian Hoyer's pass failed.
Georgia then put the game on ice with an 11-play, 67-yard drive, which ended in the Moreno touchdown reception.
The showdown between Ringer and Moreno never developed as both defenses did a good job of shutting down the running games.
Moreno finished with 62 yards on 23 carries, while Ringer had 47 yards on 20 totes.
Hoyer finished the game 16-of-31 for 159 yards and an interception.
Georgia 3 0 14 7 – 24
Michigan State 3 3 0 6 – 12
UGA – Blair Walsh 32 field goal
MSU – Swenson, Brett 20 field goal
MSU – Swenson 32 field goal
UGA – Michael Moore 35 pass from Matthew Stafford (Walsh kick)
UGA – Aron White 21 pass from Stafford (Walsh kick)
MSU – Ringer, Javon 1 run (Hoyer pass failed)
UGA – Knowshon Moreno 21 pass from Stafford (Walsh kick)