Posted: Sunday September 4, 2005 10:30AM; Updated: Sunday September 4, 2005 5:36PM
Chris Leak got off to a strong start in Urban Meyer's offense, but Florida rushed for only 102 yards on 36 carries against Wyoming.
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Well, you're probably not going to hear Boise State and BCS in the same sentence again for quite some time after the Broncos' embarrassing showing at Georgia. Poor Jared Zabransky could throw for 4,000 yards this season and he'll still be remembered as the guy who turned it over six times in the first half.
But I wouldn't waste too much time dwelling on Boise's nationally televised reality check. The main message to take from Georgia's 48-13 beatdown on Saturday is that, contrary to most summer predictions, the Dawgs are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the SEC this season.
Despite losing such stars as QB David Greene, DE David Pollack, S Thomas Davis and LB Odell Thurman, Georgia looked like a finely tuned machine. Most notably, long-awaited starting QB D.J. Shockley was a picture of poise and presence, completing 16-of-24 passes for 289 yards and five touchdowns while running five times for 85 yards and another score. His passing numbers would have been even better had his receivers not dropped four easy catches that would have gone for big gains. Meanwhile, the Dawgs' much-questioned defense caused six turnovers and held one of the nation's most powerful offenses to 304 yards.
Elsewhere in the SEC East, Tennessee needed an incompletion in the end zone to survive UAB, and, while Florida QB Chris Leak certainly looked sharp running Urban Meyer's spread offense (17 straight completions, 26-of-34 for 318 yards and three TDs) in a 32-14 win over Wyoming, the Gators' running game (minus the suspended DeShawn Wynn) was notably unproductive, gaining just 102 yards on 36 carries.
In a brutal three-team race, the underdog may not be Georgia, but Tennessee.
I know it's just one game, but Ohio State's defense looks like it could be back at its 2002 level. Miami of Ohio returned eight starters from a typically powerful MAC offense, yet the Buckeyes, noticeably more aggressive under new coordinator Jim Heacock, absolutely suffocated the RedHawks, holding them to 76 yards in the first half, sacking QB Josh Betts five times and pitching a shutout for nearly 58 minutes.
Now that the anticipated Sept. 21 Boise State-Bowling Green "BCS buster" showdown has been rendered moot, it's time to mark your calendar instead for a Thursday night game six days earlier: Utah at TCU. With a win over Oklahoma on their resume, the Horned Frogs have put themselves in position for a Utah-like run ... but first, the newest Mountain West members will have to dethrone the two-time defending champion Utes.
It was a dubious debut for Cal's latest vaunted juco QB, Joe Ayoob. Replacing an injured Nathan Longshore (who had gone 8-of-11 for 130 yards), the supposed "next Aaron Rodgers" completed exactly zero of his 10 attempts -- against Sacramento State, no less -- before giving way to third-stringer Steve Levy. At least freshman WR DeSean Jackson lived up to his hype, catching a 31-yard touchdown and returning a punt 49 yards for another score in the Bears' 41-3 victory.