Forget the injuries, inexperience and suspensions. No. 11 Georgia looks as strong as ever.
David Greene accounted for two touchdowns, D.J. Shockley ran for another and Georgia handed Clemson its first shutout in Coach Tommy Bowden’s five seasons, 30-0, Saturday at Clemson, S.C.
“A lot of questions were answered today,” defensive lineman David Pollack said.
That’s great news for the defending Southeastern Conference champion Bulldogs, who were supposed to struggle early on.
They had a new offensive line. They were without injured defensive starters Will Thompson and Kentrell Curry. Eight other Bulldogs were suspended by Coach Mark Richt. And that’s not counting the embarrassing Ring-gate episode where several players sold their rings from the school’s first SEC title in 20 years.
Greene completed 12 of 17 passes for 203 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown pass to Fred Gibson. Greene had a three-yard touchdown run and Shockley closed the scoring with a 29-yard scoring run.
Clemson hadn’t been shut out at home since a 37-0 loss to Virginia Tech in 1998, the last season under Tommy West.
It was also the first time Georgia held the Tigers scoreless in 15 games since a 12-0 victory in 1978.
In other games involving Atlantic Coast Conference teams: Florida State returned to the scene of its worst regular-season loss in 16 years and had little trouble this time. Chris Rix ran for a pair of short touchdowns and threw for another score as the 13th-ranked Seminoles built a 27-point halftime lead and cruised to a season-opening 37-0 victory over North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. Rix had four turnovers in an embarrassing 41-9 loss to the Tar Heels here in 2001.... Tramain Hall had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes to lead No. 16 North Carolina State to a 59-20 victory over Division I-AA Western Carolina in the season opener for both at Raleigh, N.C. Hall also had a six-yard touchdown catch in his Wolfpack debut as N.C. State won its seventh straight season opener. Western Carolina fell to 0-21 against current ACC schools and 0-5 against the Wolfpack. Rivers was nearly flawless throughout. He completed 26 of 30 passes for 320 yards before giving way to reserve Jay Davis midway through the third quarter.... Virginia beat Duke, 27-0, but the No. 18 Cavaliers lost quarterback Matt Schaub to an injury on the opening series and he watched the second half with his arm in a sling in the season opener at Charlottesville, Va. The school said only that Schaub had injured his shoulder and did not release any additional details about the 2002 ACC offensive player of the year, for whom a Heisman Trophy campaign was planned. In Schaub’s absence, redshirt freshman Anthony Martinez took over at quarterback and shook off some early jitters to help send Duke to its 26th consecutive loss in conference play.
Cory Randolph’s 43-yard touchdown pass to Chris Davis with 1:47 left lifted Wake Forest to a 32-28 victory over Boston College at Boston in the season opener for both teams. Randolph, in his first career start for Wake Forest, completed 13 of 23 passes for 149 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.... Tres Moses scored on a 66-yard punt return and a 15-yard pass play in the first quarter and Rutgers broke a nine-game losing streak with a season-opening 24-10 victory over Buffalo at Piscataway, N.J. Ryan Hart threw for a career-best 225 yards and a touchdown. Buffalo lost its 11th consecutive game
DeAngelo Williams scored three touchdowns, caught four passes for 135 yards and rushed for 61 more to lead Memphis to a 40-10 victory over Division I-AA Tennessee Tech in the season opener for both at Memphis, Tenn. Maurice Avery had a pair of touchdown runs covering 33 and three yards for the Tigers.... Freshman Kevin Kolb threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more to lead Houston to a 48-14 victory over crosstown rival Rice in the season opener for both at Houston. Kolb completed 17 of 22 passes for 246 yards and no interceptions.
Stan Hill overcame five turnovers to throw for 344 yards and two touchdowns to lead Marshall to a 45-21 victory over Division I-AA Hofstra in the season opener for both at Huntington, W.Va. Making his third career start -- and his first as the full-time replacement for Byron Leftwich -- Hill completed 25 of 37 passes, but also threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles.
Fullback Dan Shaffer scored three touchdowns and Fisher DeBerry won his 150th game as Air Force rolled to a 49-0 victory over Division I-AA Wofford at Air Force Academy, Colo. Shaffer, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Northwestern in the opener last year and sat out the season, rushed for 64 yards in 12 carries.... Casey Bramlet passed for 203 yards and a touchdown and the defense forced five turnovers to lead Wyoming to a 21-10 victory over Division I-AA Montana State in the season opener for both at Laramie, Wyo. Bramlet completed 17 of 28 passes, including a 28-yard touchdown to Ryan McGuffey in the fourth quarter.... Freshman Lynell Hamilton rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns to lead San Diego State to a 19-9 win over Division I-AA Eastern Washington in the season opener for both at San Diego. Hamilton, who carried the ball 23 times, became San Diego State’s first true freshman to run for more than 100 yards in his debut.
Kyle Eckel rushed for two touchdowns and a career-high 129 yards as Navy ended a 14-game home losing streak with a 37-10 win over Division I-AA Virginia Military Institute in the season opener for both at Annapolis, Md. Quarterback Craig Candeto ran for 96 yards and scored twice for Navy. The Midshipmen had not won at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since beating Tulane 45-21 on Nov. 13, 1999.