Posted by Jerry Hinnen
BOISE STATE WON: The Broncos again thrust themselves into the national title chase with a comprehensive 14-point win over the Bulldogs. After an iffy first quarter, Kellen Moore returned to his All-American best, completing 28 of his 34 attempts for 261 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Meanwhile, Georgia struggled all night on offense, getting an 80-yard touchdown run from moonlighting cornerback Brandon Boykin in the first quarter ... and averaging a middling 4.8 yards on all other plays.
WHY BOISE STATE WON: The common conception is that non-AQ teams like Boise can find a handful of good skill players, but just can't match up with the heavies of the SEC on the line of scrimmage. Too bad for Georgia Boise's performance was as loud and as forceful a rebuke of that misconception as it's possible to be. The Bronco defensive front of Shea McClellin, Billy Winn, Chase Baker and Tyrone Crawford routinely abused the Bulldog blockers, sacking Aaron Murray six times and harrying him into a 36-yard, zero touchdown, one-interception first-half performance. One of the few Bulldog first-half forays into BSU territory ended when an unblocked McClellin stuffed Richard Samuel on 4th-and-1. By the time the Bulldogs began to get a handle on the Boise front, the game was out of reach.
Things were nearly as lopsided on the other side of the ball. The Broncos finished the game with 129 yards on 37 carries, but those numbers don't do justice to Nate Potter and the rest of the BSU line's domination of the Dawgs in the four-touchdowns-in-five-possessions
stretch over the end of the second quarter and start of the third--four drives that totaled 31 plays and covered 232 yards. And about Moore's six-incompletions-in-34-tries performance: those numbers are a lot easier to reach when you're not sacked once.
WHEN BOISE STATE WON: Murray's sky-high pass on 4th-and-2 with 2:34 remaining in the game (and Georgia down 35-21) put the final nail in the Bulldogs' coffin, but the game was decided by the Broncos' 8-play, 76-yard touchdown drive spanning the third and fourth quarters. Georgia had pounced on a rare Bronco mistake -- an offsides penalty that turned a 4th-and-7 punt into a 4th-and-2 -- with a Murray 36-yard touchdown pass that cut the lead to 28-14. But Moore and the Broncos responded with a brutally, icily efficient drive, one capped by D.J. Harper's 1-yard touchdown to restore the lead to 35-14. Georgia never tasted real momentum again.
WHAT BOISE STATE WON: The chance to all-but cruise to another undefeated season. With TCU's defense looking utterly mortal against Baylor, only the Broncos' trip to San Diego State looks like a legitimate hurdle to 12-0. If Georgia does BSU the favor of winning enough to make this victory valuable and carnage reigns across the BCS conferences, Boise's first trip to the BCS title game could be in sight.
WHAT GEORGIA LOST: For the time being, any sense of progress over last year's 6-7 disaster. The Bulldogs of 2010 had little running game, an inconsistent passing attack, an erratic secondary, and conditioning issues in the fourth quarter. From what we saw Saturday, the 2011 version has the same problems--and unless they can make some quick repairs before a visit from South Carolina next week, they may sink a second straight season before it even begins.