Photo: Craig Cappy Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray (11) throw as he is being rushed by Boise State lineman Shea McClennin (92) during the first half of Saturday's game at the Georgia Dome.
ATLANTA -- Boise State's credibility was at stake when the Broncos opened against Oregon and Virginia Tech the past two seasons. This time it was Georgia that was under suspicion.
The Bulldogs had their first losing season since 1996 last year, going 6-7 after an ugly loss to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl. Could coach Mark Richt turn things back around?
An opener against No. 5-ranked Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Saturday night at the Georgia Dome gave Georgia a perfect opportunity to make the statement that a resurgence was ahead.
Instead, the Bulldogs hardly looked like a team that should have been ranked No. 19 in the preseason.
Georgia mostly fizzled after an early 80-yard TD run by Brandon Boykin and lost to Boise State 35-21 before a capacity crowd of 73,614. Those wearing red and black left unhappy, the Broncos having looked more like an SEC team than the Bulldogs.
Boise State was routed 45-3 at Sanford Stadium in 2005, when Georgia won the SEC title. That seems like an awful long time ago now.
Kellen Moore, a Heisman Trophy candidate, was 28 of 34 passing for 261 yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos tore apart the Georgia defense, especially in the second half.
Boise State drove 76 yards after the second-half kickoff to go up 21-7 on Doug Martin's 7-yard run and made it a three-touchdown lead on a 3-yard pass from Moore to Tyler Shoemaker with 3:10 left in the third quarter after a 49-yard punt return by Chris Potter.
An offside penalty by Boise State on a punt allowed the Bulldogs to cut the lead to two touchdowns with 79 seconds left in the third quarter. Going for it on fourth-and-2, Aaron Murray hit tight end Orson Charles with a 36-yard TD pass.
But the Broncos quickly regained momentum, driving 76 yards after the ensuing kickoff to go back up by three touchdowns on a 1-run run by D.J. Harper with 11:37 left in the game.
A 51-yard TD pass from Murray to freshman Malcolm Mitchell shortly afterward revived Georgia's hopes. But the Bulldogs couldn't cut into the Boise State lead.
It was hard to say which team won the uniform battle as both wore new futuristic outfits in a Nike fashion statement for the game. The Bulldogs wore red jerseys and pants with silver helmets, the worst part hard-to-read numbers. Boise State was clad in white uniforms and helmets accessorized by blue socks and florescent orange shoes. Talk about bright?
Georgia committed three penalties on its first possession and failed to pick up a first down again on its second. Then Boykin caught Boise State by surprise. Slipped into the game, the senior cornerback came from the left to take a handoff from Murray and swept to the right behind a wall of blocks.
No one could catch Boykin, who raced 80 yards on his first career carry from scrimmage, and the Bulldogs were ahead with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
The lead didn't last long, though, as Moore connected with Matt Miller from 17 yards out on a slant for his 100th career touchdown pass with 3:02 left in the quarter. Georgia strong safety Shawn Williams was shaken up on the drive, forcing walk-on Connor Norman of Peachtree Ridge into the game briefly.
The big loss for the Bulldogs defense, though, was linebacker Alec Ogletree, who was knocked out of the game with a foot injury. Jerry Suleck, a senior from Dacula, replaced Ogletree.
The Georgia offense was also hit by a costly injury in the first half. Left guard Kanarious Gates was lost for the game with a leg injury. He was replaced by Dallas Lee of Buford.
Georgia was stopped on a fourth-down play from the Boise State 31-yard line on an unblocked tackle after the Broncos' first TD and an exchange of interceptions followed. The pickoff against Murray at midfield led to Boise State going ahead on Moore's 12-yard pass to tight end Kyle Efaw with 48 seconds left before halftime.
Highly touted freshman Isaiah Crowell entered the game on Georgia's second possession and lost 2 yards on his first carry. He rushed nine more times in the first half, gaining 34 yards.
BOISE STATE 35, GEORGIA 21
Boise 7 7 14 7 -- 35
Georgia 7 0 7 7 -- 21
Georgia: Brandon Boykin 80 run (Blair Walsh kick), 8:39
Boise: Matt Miller 17 pass from Kellen Moore (Dan Goodale kick), 3:02
Boise: Kyle Efaw 12 pass from Moore (Goodale kick), 0:48
Boise: Doug Martin 7 run (Goodale kick), 11:01
Georgia: Orson Charles 36 pass from Aaron Murray (Walsh kick), 1:19
Boise: D.J. Harper 1 run (Goodale kick), 11:37
Georgia: Malcolm Mitchell 51 pass from Murray (Walsh kick), 10:15