ATHENS, Ga. | Knowshon Moreno rushed for a season-high 172 yards, freshman A.J. Green had 132 yards receiving and 10th-ranked Georgia overcame its mistakes to beat No. 22 Vanderbilt 24-14 on Saturday.
Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes for Georgia (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference), which twice built 14-point leads but didn't put away the Commodores until Blair Walsh kicked a 39-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining.
Mackenzi Adams, who replaced Chris Nickson as Vandy's starting quarterback this week, threw a pair of touchdown pass to Jamie Graham.
The Commodores (5-2, 3-2) lost their second in a row, again missing a chance to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 1982.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The State
Moreno had his fourth 100-yard performance of the season, which included an 11-yard touchdown run. Green went over 100 yards receiving for the second time in his college career, scoring Georgia's first TD on a 17-yard pass.
Georgia had a commanding 425-245 lead in total yards, but hurt itself with miscues that could be a lot more painful in upcoming games against No. 13 LSU and No. 5 Florida.
Two pass interference penalties by the most flagged team in the country set up Vanderbilt's first touchdown. Walsh missed a couple of field goals attempts before finally making his third. Stafford threw a pair of interceptions.
Vanderbilt switched quarterbacks this week, starting Adams over Chris Nickson in hopes of beefing up the passing game. The new starter was 16 of 32 for 131 yards, with two interceptions.
Walsh missed a 40-yard field goal on Georgia's first possession, then clanked a 37-yarder off the right upright late in the game. But Vanderbilt's last chance ended when a fourth-down pass from Adams to Graham came up a half-yard short, stopped by a big lick from Asher Allen.
Georgia took over, ran the clock down and Walsh finally kicked one between the uprights.
Stafford and Green got rolling on the Georgia's second possession. The freshman slipped behind the secondary and hauled in a 49-yard pass over his shoulder. Two plays later, Green made a leaping catch for a 17-yard touchdown, the 6-foot-4 receiver going up to get the ball over 5-10 cornerback D.J. Moore.
Georgia made it 14-0 late in the first half, the drive beginning after Darius Dewberry picked off Adams' pass. Moreno broke off two runs totaling 33 yards, Stafford hooked up with Green on a 13-yard pass and Mohamed Massaquoi got free in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown catch.
But Vanderbilt responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive just before halftime. Two pass interference penalties — one a disputed call on Allen, the other a more clear-cut violation on Bryan Evans — pushed the Commodores deep in to Georgia territory. Adams threw it up in the corner of the end zone and watched Graham out-jump Evans for an 18-yard touchdown.
The Bulldogs seemed on the verge of putting away the Commodores when they marched right down the field on the first drive of the second half. Moreno had a 19-yard run, Stafford went to Green for a 33-yard gain and Moreno scored from the 11, after an apparent TD was overturned when the replay showed the runner's left knee was down.
Again, the Commodores bounced back. This time, they took advantage of Stafford's second interception, a pass that was tipped at the line and grabbed by cornerback Myron Lewis at the Georgia 26.
Vandy scored with a nearly identical play as its first TD. Adams threw into the left corner for Graham, who pulled it down over Evans for an 8-yard score.