September 9, 2009

Inside the numbers: Fresno State

MADISON, Wis. - Last season the Wisconsin football team traveled out to California and engaged in a defensive struggle with Fresno State. In the end, it was the Badgers who held on for the 13-10 victory that kept them undefeated heading into Big Ten play.

"We came off the field and felt pretty good about things," UW head coach Bret Bielema said Tuesday evening. "Then we went into a bye week and you know how the rest of the season went after that.

"So that was the last time that I really remember feeling really, really good."

Come Saturday, the teams will meet up once again. This time, for Fresno State, revenge is on the mind.

Before that tilt set for 11 a.m. (CT), takes a deeper look at how FSU opened its season with a 51-0 route of UC-Davis last weekend through the numbers.

7: In its opening shutout win, FSU saw seven different players score in the teams first seven touchdowns. Ryan Mathews, Robbie Rouse, Lonyae Miller, Ebann Feathers, Ryan Colburn, Nico Herron and Marlon Moore all found the endzone en route to the blowout win.

Heron was also named the WAC's defensive player of the week following his five tackle and one interception, which was returned 94-yards for a touchdown, performance.

90+: Granted the competition was not as high in FSU's opening week as it will be Saturday, but the Bulldogs showed a propensity for the big play. Twice, Fresno State scored touchdowns from 90 or more yards out. The Herron 94-yard interception return for a touchdown and quarterback Ryan Colburn's 90-yard pitch and catch to wide out Marlon Moore.

The plays were not the longest in school history, though, as a 2003 interception was returned for 103-yards for a touchdown. In 2005, Paul Williams recorded a 98-yard touchdown reception against Boise State.

80: Since Pat Hill has taken over at Fresno State, his special teams units have been masterful at blocking kicks. On Saturday, Devon Wylie blocked the 80th kick in Hill's reign when he blocked a punt.

"The one thing they've got a lot of, and you can especially see that when you break down offensively and defensively, they've got a lot of skill," Bielema said. "They've got a lot of that and some guys that, you know, it's one thing to be fast and to be quick, but there's an art and there's a skill to guys that can block punts and kicks and they've had a ring of them."

13-2: With talented running back Ryan Mathews starting in the backfield, the Bulldogs have comprised a record of 13-2. One of those two losses was from a season ago when the Badgers defeated the Bulldogs. During their season opening win, Mathews rushed for 106 yards on only 11 carries and scored a touchdown.

58: In total, 58 players got time in the season opening win. Of those to get action, nine received carries, three completed passes, six logged receptions and 29 recorded tackles.

"They played a lot of guys," Bielema said. "All the quarterbacks got in there. It was pretty base from an offensive point of view. Defensively, they were doing some things just to kind of limit and kind of see what we saw. The great thing about Pat Hill is that he's had so much success based on the beliefs that he has that he doesn't vary from that very much."

7.87: Fresno State ran 65 plays through the game and racked up 511 yards of total offense. That is an incredible 7.87 yards per play. Of those 65 plays, 52 were rushes that went for 310 yards. The rest of the offense came on 8-of-13 passing for 201 yards.

3.73: On the defensive side of the ball, they limited UC-Davis to only 3.73 yards per play. That includes just 2.15 yards per carry rushing.

Looking forward: The Badgers and Bulldogs have only met three times over the course of history. UW has a slight 2-1 edge in the series suffering their only loss to the hands of David Carr in 2001 when FSU stunned UW 32-20.

In 2002, it took a 34-yard Mike Allen field goal with just over two minutes left in the game for UW to escape with a 23-21 victory. And then, of course, UW held on for a 13-10 win a season ago. Nonetheless, when these two schools meet, it is usually a tight game.

"Pat Hill is a very, very, very good coach," Bielema said. "He emphasizes all the right things. He's had success over the years at a program that hadn't had it in the past and has renewed the sense of pride there.

"They walk around, you know, that they'll play anybody, anytime, anywhere and that carries over to their players and has given them the chances that they've had."

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