That day it was the Tigers’ Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, who carried the ball 41 times for 167 yards in a 24-17 Auburn victory. On Saturday, No. 10 Georgia hopes to return the favor with its own freshman wearing No. 24.
Knowshon Moreno “is a lot like Carnell, a very tough kid,” Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. “He’s going to have a future in this league.”
Moreno has rushed for 541 yards in the last three games, setting career highs in each game along the way. With a 111.4-yard average, he is third in the SEC behind Arkansas’ Darren McFadden and Felix Jones second nationally among freshmen, behind Pittsburgh’s LeSean McCoy (118.3)
He is just the second Georgia back since Garrison Hearst in 1992 to eclipse 1,000 yards (1,003). With one more touchdown run, he’ll be the first Bulldog since Olandis Gary in 1998 to reach double digits in that category.
“He gave ‘em a new lease on life,” Tuberville said.
The comparisons to Williams, who gained 3,831 rushing yards at Auburn and was a top five pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, don’t stop with jersey number.
“He’s got some Cadillac,” head coach Mark Richt said. “I don’t know if he’s as fast as Cadillac, but he’s got a lot of that in him.”
“That’s a great comparison,” Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said. “I think it ought to be a compliment to him because I have a lot of respect for Cadillac.”
Williams rushed for 614 yards in his freshman season, which may have been the kind of number Moreno would have finished with if not for injuries to seniors Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin.
“They are very similar in that they are athletic; they can do things out of the backfield; they can make people miss, but they can still run physical,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “That’s a rare combination, a guy who has moves but still can finish off a run. That’s one of (Moreno’s) biggest assets.”
Moreno’s yardage total already is the 10th-best in school history and best since Musa Smith gained 1,324 in 2002. If he keeps up his current average, he would finish the season with 1,448 yards, the sixth-most in school history.
“The thing you are trying to do is keep him grounded,” Garner said. “I think he has a tremendous upside. We just have to keep him focused, keep his priorities in order and help him to mature because he’s going through a lot.”
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