Dawgs grab interceptions

ATHENS - Georgia defenders took question after question this preseason about why they didn't have more interceptions last year.

Saturday, they finally gave a definitive answer, picking off four passes. The Bulldogs had five interceptions all of last year. Overall, Georgia's defense forced six turnovers and the offense turned them into 24 points in a 48-13 win over Boise State.

"It was never even in the back of my mind that we would have as many turnovers as we had," said linebacker Tony Taylor, who intercepted a pass by Boise State's Jared Zabransky on the first play of the game.

The interceptions were the biggest surprise for the Bulldogs. Taylor, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, safety Greg Blue and safety Tra Battle each had one. The last time Georgia had four interceptions in the game was in 1999 against Vanderbilt.

"That's pretty darn good," said Battle, a graduate of Mary Persons High School in Forsyth. "That feels real good. That's something that plagued the defense the whole season. The coaches really stressed that."

First-year defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said he and his staff stressed turnovers all offseason and kept stressing them as they kept piling up Saturday evening.

"You just have to keep on talking about it," he said. "It was kind of a trickle-down effect."

The Bulldogs' strategy was to force Boise State into third-and-long situations. They aren't used to facing too many of those or the nickel packages that come along with them, Martinez said.

"They are a very tough offense to defend," he said. "We got some breaks early."

Georgia held the Broncos to 292 yards, compared to their own 574, and didn't allow Boise State a point in the first 38 minutes of the game.

"I'm very, very proud of the job Coach Martinez and the defensive staff and the defense in general did," Coach Mark Richt said.

The next test for the Bulldogs comes in the form of South Carolina and coach Steve Spurrier.

"Success always has to start somewhere," Battle said.

Bronco turnovers
First Quarter
Turnover Time Result
Interception 14:46 Georgia touchdown (4 plays, 37 yards, 1:49)
Interception 10:09 Georgia touchdown (4 plays, 62 yards, 1:13)
Fumble 5:38 Georgia punt
Second quarter
Interception 10:15 Georgia field goal (5 plays, 0 yards, 1:35)
Interception 5:33 Georgia punt
Fumble 0:48 Georgia touchdown (1 play, 20 yards, :06)

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