Dogs erupt for 35 in second quarter
By Seth Emerson
ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia school president Michael Adams walked around his football team’s locker room Saturday, shook hands and congratulated players and coaches on the 55-7 rout of Idaho State.
Never miss a local story.
As Adams peered into the postgame interviews, he probably heard the word “Auburn” more than “Idaho State.”
This has not been the season to be expected of a Georgia football team, as Adams stated earlier this week. And a romp over an overmatched FCS team doesn’t change that.
But a win over Auburn would. That’s why even head coach Mark Richt turned the discussion to the second-ranked Tigers moments after Saturday’s easy win.
“Every man on the team, I’m sure even before the clock hit zeros, was thinking about going to Auburn and playing this game,” Richt said.
Richt’s players might have turned their thoughts to Auburn before the clock hit zeros in the first half.
After a sluggish first quarter, the Bulldogs erupted for 35 points in the second quarter. That was the most in one quarter for Georgia since 1988.
Idaho State (1-8) did little more Saturday than avoid a shutout with a late touchdown and walked away with a $525,000 payout.
As Idaho State coach John Zamberlin bluntly put it: “We played this game for revenue.”
For Georgia (5-5), it continued the trend of its season: The Bulldogs’ five wins have been by an average of 35.8 points, while their five losses have been by a combined 35.
It was also the fifth straight game the Bulldogs scored at least 30 points, a first for the program.
The defense was credited for much of the damage. Bacarri Rambo and Vance Cuff each returned an interception for a touchdown. Brandon Boykin set up another with an interception return to the Idaho State 3.
Last week, the Bulldogs expressed how devastated they were by losing in overtime to rival Florida. While beating Idaho State didn’t reverse that, they were a bit more jovial in victory.
“I made a bet with (linebackers) Akeem Dent and Marcus Dowtin that I’d be the first one with an interception,” Rambo said. “It kind of scared me, because one got in Dowtin’s hand, and I was like, ‘Oh, man, I’ve lost my bet.’ But then I saw him and said, ‘It’s still on.’ ”
There was more good-natured joking when Boykin was stopped at the 3 on his interception return.
“We were joking around with each other. I was like, ‘Man, y’all didn’t block for me like you did when Rambo scored,’” Boykin said. “But, no, when I caught it, No. 10 jumped on my back and held on for dear life. So I couldn’t really get in there. But the secondary played really well.”
The domination was all-encompassing, what Richt called “just a good team victory.”
It also allowed Richt to empty the Bulldogs’ bench and rest the starters for the game at Auburn. The unbeaten Tigers and quarterback Cam Newton, the Heisman Trophy favorite, are second in the BCS rankings.
Thursday, Adams said when asked about the state of Georgia football, “There are better days ahead. I think we’re going to be fine in the long run.”
It could be better in the short run if the Bulldogs were to pull off the upset on the Plains.
“I think it can be huge for us,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “They’re going to be ranked 1 or 2 in the nation. It’s going to be exciting. We’re going to be ready for the challenge.”
“If we come out and win this game, it’s really going to show a lot of people to respect us,” wide receiver A.J. Green said. “It’s going to be a big game; we’re going to be ready for it.”