Key player: Bacarri Rambo, Georgia
The sophomore safety has often been on the wrong end of some big plays this year, but on Saturday his own sparked the Bulldogs to the rout. It was 13-0 in the second quarter when Rambo grabbed an interception and returned it 39 yards for the touchdown. It was Rambo’s fourth career interception, and his second for a touchdown.
Last year, when Idaho State decided to accept the $525,000 payday and come to Georgia. The Bengals, who are now 1-8, were simply overmatched physically and never stood a chance. Even head coach John Zamberlin, who is now 6-37 at Idaho State, said afterwards: “We played this game for revenue.”
The toughest call for the winning team in a rout is when to pull the key players. The Bulldogs started doing so early in the third quarter, beginning with Hutson Mason replacing Aaron Murray at quarterback. The starters were out there at the beginning of the second half, a decision that looked questionable when tackle DeAngelo Tyson got hurt on the first play. But Tyson appeared to be okay, and no other starters were known to be injured.
Quote of the game
“We started off a little slow offensively, but the defense did a good job of making plays. We had a pick-six and another interception, and after that, the offense got into the flow. The defense and special teams really did ignite this thing today.”
- Georgia head coach Mark Richt
By the numbers
Georgia had that many yards on interception returns, which up until Idaho State’s final drive was more than Idaho State’s total yardage.
Mark Richt's Comments…
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 rout over an overmatched FCS team would not 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 may have turned their thoughts to Auburn before the clock hit zeros in the first half.
After a sluggish first quarter, the Bulldogs erupted to put it out of reach with 35 points in the second quarter. That was the most in one quarter for Georgia since 1988.
Idaho State (1-8) did little more on Saturday than avoid a shutout with a late touchdown, and walk away with a $525,000 payout.
As Idaho State head coach John Zamberlin bluntly put it: “We played this game for revenue.”
For Georgia (5-5), it continued the trend-line of its season: The five wins have been by an average of 35.8 points, while its five losses were by a combined 35.
It was the also 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 were candid in how devastated they were by losing in overtime to arch-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 rout was all-encompassing, what Richt called “just a good team victory.”
It also allowed Richt to empty his bench, and rest his starters for the visit to Auburn. The unbeaten Tigers and quarterback Cameron Newton are ranked second in the BCS standings.
On Thursday, Adams said when asked about the state of Georgia football: “There are better days ahead. I think we’re gonna 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 gonna be ranked 1 or 2 in the nation. It’s gonna be exciting. We’re gonna be ready for the challenge.”
“If we come out and win this game, it’s really gonna show a lot of people to respect us,” receiver A.J. Green said. “It’s gonna be a big game, we’re gonna be ready for it.”