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Boise State Got More Than They Bargained for with Georgia

Boise State Broncos are feeling real good about themselves this Labor Day weekend. Saturday night's game against the Georgia Bulldogs gave them more than just a win. The Broncos went down to Georgia with an 0-4 record against SEC teams, including an ugly 48-13 loss at Georgia's Sanford Stadium back in 2005. That sorry record is behind them now, along with the echoing chants from Dawg fans of "O-VER-RA-TED" as a beaten BSU team filed out of the Dawg Pound six years ago. The 2005 team's former quarterback, Jared Zabrinsky, was on hand to see that win finally happen six years to the day.

That win erased a huge sore spot among the Bronco faithful. But moral victory aside, we also need to take a look at what else can be taken away from the Georgia game. First off, a lot of questions were answered with that game. One of the biggest was that the Broncos do not necessarily need to employ a bag of tricks to score a victory over a quality opponent. Does it make it easier and more fun? Yes. But the Boise State team showed the entire nation once again they can go toe-to-toe with the biggest and meanest teams in the country.

That sentiment is being tossed around the sporting world this weekend and at least one makes the statement that the Broncos have outgrown the title of being America's Cinderella team after qualifying for major bowls in two of the last five years. Other sources are calling for the BCS elitists to stop referring to the Broncos as "BCS crashers" and "small school darlings" not deserving of a BCS bowl game. They point out that they should start seeing the Boise State Broncos for what they are: a well-coached team with one of the best quarterbacks in college football. The biggest question answered Saturday night concerned QB Kellen Moore. Without last years WR's Titus Young and Austin Pettis, would he continue his march toward breaking the NCAA passing record? He completed 28 of 34 attempts for 261 yards, 3 TD's and 1 INT. Those passes were caught by at least 9 different players in a very talented receiving corps. Some of the standouts were Matt Miller who caught 5 for 57 yards; Kyle Efaw, 6 for 53 yards; and Mitch Burroughs, 5 for 43 yards. Tyler Shoemaker, Miller and Efaw all caught passes for touchdowns.

That performance says a lot about the D-line that was in question early on. Those hombres allowed Moore to find the holes and make the passes while they held back over a ton of charging muscle. That defensive line had no less than three sophomores on it who had very little college experience to draw from. The Georgia defenders did force Moore to throw an interception, but they were denied an opportunity to get a sack.

It's hard to find fault with this team after such an impressive win over a ranked team like Georgia. There is always room for improvement, of course. The Broncos made 129 yards on 37 carries. But that statement has to be tempered against a defensive line that is one of the biggest and highly talented in the nation. Doug Martin, 5-9 215 lbs, carried 24 times for 57 of those yards and J. D. Harper, 5-9 210 lbs, churned up the Georgia dust for 8 carries and 44 yards. To their credit both punched in a touchdown. Grant Hedrick and Mitch Burroughs both got to carry the ball as well.

Special teams coach Jeff Choate has filled his kicking positions. Freshman kicker Dan Goodale was 5 for 5 on extra points and didn't kick a field goal. Punter Brad Elkin has the punting job after former kicker Kyle Brotzman had the duties last season. Elkin kicked 7 times and averaged 40 yards per kick and six of those were inside the Georgia 20 yard line.

A bigger statement going forward was about first year offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who just spent the last five years as the wide receivers coach. No one really doubted he could handle the job, and he more than proved it as the Broncos generated 390 yards and had 24 first downs compared to 13 for the Bulldogs.

The Boise State defensive line showed it is still the same hard, tough, dominating power it was last season. The Georiga quarterback was sacked six times, and senior defensive end Shea McClellin accounted for 2.5 of those sacks. He was all over the Georgia front line making the defensive plays that kept the Bulldogs from getting more than 137 yards on the ground. The entire Boise State defense, so overmatched in the size department, held a good #19 ranked Georgia team to 373 total yards. Some standout plays occurred when cornerback Jerrell Gavins added an interception and punt returner Chris Potter added a 49-yard punt return.

The confidence gained by the Broncos cannot be minimalized. But neither can overconfidence. Hopefully that will not be a factor as the team looks ahead. Coach Petersen wants his Broncos to approach each game one at a time, and like each one in front of them is for all the marbles and there is no room for error. He knows they have to stay focused because there are a lot of good quality teams ahead of them: Air Force, Nevada, TCU, San Diego State, and Wyoming who always gives the Broncos a run. No game is too small and no opponent can be taken for granted. One slip or loss would probably end any chance of appearing in another BCS game.

For this Labor Day weekend, at least, the Broncos and the Mountain West Conference can enjoy Saturday night's victory over Georgia and the SEC. But tomorrow is another day and the beginning of the rest of the season.

Next up for the Broncos: the Toledo Rockets of the Mid-American Conference Toldeo Rockets at the Glass Bowl.