Wisconsin-Fresno State: Badgers Pass Their First Test

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst ISeptember 14, 2008

The Wisconsin Badgers walked out of "The Valley" with a 13-10 victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Many thought that the Badgers stood no chance in this game, that they just didn't have the fire power to hang with Fresno State. But the Badgers have something that no other team does; P.J. Hill.

A Heisman Trophy sleeper, Hill ran for 112 yards on 26 carries, which was just six yards less than the Bulldogs all together.

That's about the only stat which Wisconsin had the advantage though.

If you look at the key stats, the Bulldogs had the edge, which should have won them the game. The Bulldogs won the passing battle 225-143, total yards 343-304, and even held on to the ball 2:30 longer than the Badgers. 

Wisconsin went into halftime with a 10-0 lead and managed to keep the crowd out the game early.

The home crowd was able to make some noise as Fresno State scored all their points in the third quarter and gave the Bulldogs hope.

However, the Bulldogs kicker Kevin Goessling, missed three field goals that would have easily given Fresno State the victory.

On the flip side of Goessling, Wisconsin's kicker Philip Welsh went 2-for-3 in field goals (his only miss came right before the half).

In a game where points are at a premium, it is very important to get points whenever the opportunity arises, and that's why No. 10 Wisconsin was able to come away with the "W".

The Badgers put points on the board when they needed to, and the Bulldogs couldn't.

Wisconsin now has three consecutive "big" games to officially open up the Big Ten season; they travel to The Big House in Ann Arbor to play Michigan next week, then get 'Thee' Ohio State University in prime-time at Camp Randall, and then get the explosive and impressive Nittany Lions in Madison as well.

The returning starters of All-American TE Travis Beckum and LB Jonathan Casillas didn't play pivotal roles in The Valley, but expect them to pick up their respective games starting with their arrival to Michigan. 

Two out of the next three games at home favors the Badgers a little bit, but Ohio State and Penn State definitely should not be overlooked (no matter how badly OSU got crushed in L.A.).

The Big Ten Conference should have a new top dog this year, because OSU proves year after year that they are not ready for the challenge, and Michigan is so up down, they can't be trusted with the reigns.

Wisconsin, along with Illinois, Penn State, and at least one other surprise team are looking to get their hands on the fallen torch. Who will it be in the end?

We'll find out soon enough as these teams will surely beat up on each other in the upcoming weeks.