Saturday, September 3, 2011
Final: Boise State 35, Georgia 21
By David Ching
ATLANTA -- Here are some thoughts on the Georgia Bulldogs' 35-21 loss to the Boise State Broncos.
What it means: Prepare for another season full of arguments concerning Boise State’s legitimacy as a national championship contender. The Broncos once again held up their end of the bargain against a major-conference opponent after beating Oregon and Virginia Tech in their previous two season openers. Now they won’t face another currently ranked opponent until hosting TCU in mid-November.
How the game was won: Boise State’s defense put the clamps on Georgia’s offense for a crucial stretch in the second and third quarters, allowing the Broncos’ offense to bounce back from a sluggish start and efficiently put away the Bulldogs as their defense began to wear down. After the Broncos scored only once on their first six possessions, they reached the end zone in four of their next five.
Player of the game: Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. The Heisman Trophy finalist hardly lost confidence when the Broncos started slowly, instead he coolly assaulted Georgia’s defense with a series of precise passes. Moore opened the game with two incompletions and then connected on 28 of his next 32 attempts for 261 yards and three touchdowns.
What Boise State learned: The Broncos learned that they can indeed compete with an SEC opponent, earning their first win against an SEC school in five tries. And not only did they beat Georgia, they took control late in the second quarter and steadily pulled away in the second half, silencing a heavily Georgia-partisan crowd at the Georgia Dome.
What Georgia learned: Touted freshman running back Isaiah Crowell can’t do it alone. The Bulldogs discovered that their relatively inexperienced offensive line isn’t ready to compete with the best college football has to offer. Boise State’s tough defensive front overmatched Georgia’s offensive line, limiting the Bulldogs to 31 rushes for 137 yards, 80 of which came on a Brandon Boykin touchdown run. Rarely finding much running room, Crowell finished with 60 yards on 15 carries.
Turning point: With the score knotted at 7-all early in the second quarter, Georgia seemed on its way to taking the upper hand when it drove 51 yards to the Boise State 26. But the Broncos stuffed Georgia runs on both third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 and the Bulldogs were unable to score again until barely more than a minute remained in the third quarter. By that time, Boise State was ahead by three touchdowns.