ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- D.J. Shockley sat around four years waiting
to become Georgia's No. 1 quarterback, which gave him plenty of
time to dream big.
Even so, he never envisioned his first start going like this.
Shockley threw five touchdown passes and ran for another score,
leading the 13th-ranked Bulldogs to a stunningly easy 48-13 victory
over No. 18 Boise State on Saturday.
"It really hasn't hit me yet," Shockley said, surrounded by
reporters and cameras in the locker room afterward. "There's no
way I ever could have imagined something like this in my head. It's
Across the room, one of his teammates yelled out, "Shockley for
Meanwhile, Jared Zabransky and the high-scoring Broncos were
totally overwhelmed by Georgia's revamped defense, which didn't
seem to have any trouble replacing David Pollack, Thomas Davis and
Odell Thurman, three defensive stars who moved on to the NFL, or
coordinator Brian VanGorder, who also landed a job in the pros.
For Boise State, ranked in the preseason for the first time, the
opener was a jarring lesson in big-time football.
"We got spanked," coach Dan Hawkins said. "Georgia is a very
good football team. That had a lot to do with it."
Shockley took over as the No. 1 quarterback after redshirting
his first year and backing up David Greene the last three seasons.
The senior had big shoes to fill -- Greene, after all, was the
winningest quarterback in Division I-A history.
After one week, it's already "David who?"
The Bulldogs didn't miss a beat with Shockley, who tied Greene's
school record for touchdown passes in a game -- in less than three
quarters -- and showed an ability to run that his predecessor
Shockley completed 16 of 24 passes for 289 yards -- numbers that
would have been even better without four dropped throws. He also
rushed five times for a team-leading 85 yards, even though a
23-yarder was brought back because of an illegal block.
Contrast those numbers with the ones put up by Zabransky: four
interceptions, two fumbles and a benching just before halftime.
Mentioned as a possible Heisman contender, his candidacy crumbled
less than 30 minutes into the season.
Zabransky didn't return in the second half, and he couldn't
speak after the game because he was hooked up to IVs. But he
remains the Broncos' starting quarterback, according to his coach.
"I could kind of tell that he was starting not to feel it,"
Hawkins said. "A lot had to do with his health. He was getting
wiped out. It was just fatigue. The anxiety level was high."
Shockley was nervous about his first start, but quickly got over
it. He had a 40-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Harris, a 20-yarder
to Danny Ware and a 56-yarder to Martrez Milner before hooking up
with Sean Bailey on two straight scores covering 31 and 5 yards.
Shockley also ran 14 yards for Georgia's first touchdown -- and
he proved to be a pretty good prognosticator, too.
Earlier in the week, he predicted the Broncos would struggle
against Georgia's defense, even though they averaged nearly 49
points a game last season.
So much for Boise State's hopes of being this year's Utah -- a
BCS-buster that earns a spot in one of the major bowls. The Broncos
lost for only the fourth time in 43 games, their spot in the
rankings likely gone after one week.
"I told the team that win, lose or draw, we had to flush the
game and move on," Hawkins said. "Obviously, when you win, your
confidence goes up, and when you lose there is a little
Georgia had only five interceptions all of last season,
prompting new defensive coordinator Willie Martinez to put special
emphasis on getting more turnovers through the air.
His guys must have been listening -- linebacker Tony Taylor
picked off Zabransky's first pass, and Dannell Ellerbe, Tra Battle
and Greg Blue also had interceptions in the opening half.
"We lost a great defensive coordinator and a lot of great
players," Blue said. "But this game will give confidence to the
Bulldog nation that we can play, too."
Zabransky fumbled at the end of a run in Georgia territory,
costing the Broncos an early chance to get back in the game. He
finished off a miserable day by mishandling a snap from the shotgun
with less than a minute to go in the half.
Georgia recovered, and Shockley threw the touchdown pass to Ware
on the very next play to give the Bulldogs a 24-0 lead heading to
the locker room.
The fans at one end of Sanford Stadium chanted "D.J.! D.J.!
D.J.!" At the other end, the Broncos were serenaded with
"O-ver-rated!" as they trudged off the field.
Any thoughts of a comeback were quickly erased. Georgia took the
second-half kickoff and needed less than two minutes to make it
31-0. Milner hauled in a Shockley pass around midfield, broke one
tackle and went the rest of the way untouched. The backup tight end
finished with 111 yards on just three catches.
The Bulldogs led 38-0 before Boise State finally scored.
Said Shockley, "It was well worth the wait."
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