Make no mistake. It will be a different breed of Tigers that Georgia faces next week as opposed to the facsimile that ventured into Sanford Stadium Saturday afternoon.
But hey, the Bulldogs' 55-7 win over the Idaho State Bengals at least afforded Georgia the opportunity to pad some stats, and more importantly even its record at 5-5 heading into its SEC finale at undefeated Auburn.
"We were a little bit shaky in the beginning, just throwing and catching but once Aaron (Murray) settled down and starting hitting his targets, everything started to work," head coach Mark Richt said. "It was just a good team victory and I'm glad we got a couple of younger guys to play, and even some older guys who hasn't had a chance to play much in their careers. It's fun to give those guys an opportunity; it means a lot to them and I'm happy for them."
Yes, it was a good day for a number of players.
Murray and wide receiver A.J. Green were two.
After misfiring on some early throws, Murray finished strong completing 19-of-27 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns, two going to Green who caught six passes for 103 yards as Georgia exploded for 35 points in the second quarter to put the game away.
"I wasn't as accurate as I'd like to be," Murray said. "But as an offense we were able to shake it off and made some great plays in the second quarter to put up 35 points. Nothing ever goes as smoothly as you like, but we were able to improve as we went along."
The defense made its share as well against the outmanned Idaho State squad in limiting the Bengals to 151 total yards.
Georgia also picked off a trio of passes, including two by Bacarri Rambo and Vance Cuff which were returned for touchdowns, while freshman Alec Ogletree celebrated his first career start at safety by blocking a punt to set up Georgia's first touchdown, a 3-yard run by Caleb King.
"We knew they were a (FCS) school and what their record was (1-8) but you still have to come out and play like we would against an SEC opponent," Boykin said. "I think that's the approach we wanted to take, not take this game for granted. The defense especially wanted to start the game fast, and I think we did that and as the game went along picked it up even more."
The 48-point difference matches the biggest margin of victory for the Bulldogs during Richt's 10 years as head coach.
Idaho State coach John Zamberlin made no pretenses about the game.
"It is what it is. We played this game for revenue," Zamberlin said. "We built this up with our guys as the opportunity to play in a great stadium against a great team."
This one was never in doubt, although the Bulldogs led by a scant 6-0 margin heading into the second quarter.
That's when Georgia erupted, exploding for 35 points in the second quarter to go into half with a 41-0 lead.
The defense was responsible for two of those scores, including a 39-yard interception return by Rambo followed by a pick by Boykin that he took inside the 10 to set up a 3-yard touchdown pass to Green.
Green would score again on Georgia's next possession on a 46-yard pass from Murray, who later hit Bruce Figgins for a 6-yard scoring pass with 1:01 to go.
King tallied Georgia's other touchdown in the second on a 3-yard run.
Blair Walsh accounted for the Bulldogs' first six points of the game on field goals of 38 and 53 yards.
The third quarter saw more of the same as Shaun Chapas scored from 1-yard out before Cuff brought home the Bulldogs' second interception for a score on a 30-yard return to make the score 55-0.
Defensively, Idaho State was clearly overmatched.
The Bengals only crossed into Bulldog territory once, that coming early in the fourth quarter when Tavoy Moore caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Morris with 8:51 to play.
Carlton Thomas finished as the game's leading rusher with 14 carries for 64 yards in mop-up duty.
Georgia returns to action next Saturday at unbeaten Auburn (10-0). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
"We're excited about the game with Auburn," Richt said. "Every man on the team; I'm sure even before the clock hit zero, was thinking about going to Auburn and playing this game. We want the opportunity to play the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the country. I hope they get voted No. 1. I would love to play a No. 1."
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