Wisconsin Badgers Week Two: Fresno State

Carl Stine@@CFBAllDayCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2009

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Ryan Matthews #21 of the Frenso State Bulldogs runs with the ball during the game against the UCLA Bruins on September 27, 2008 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Wisconsin Badgers go into week two of the college football season with a problem—the flu.

At least 10 of the Badgers' players have reported flu like symptoms. Hopefully they don't make the fans sick this week.

The Badgers have to face Fresno State, a team they squeaked by last season in Cali 13-10.

The Bulldogs lost quarterback Tom Brandstater, but last week put up 511 total offensive yards.

The other problem that the Badgers will face is how to stop Fresno running back Ryan Matthews.

The Bulldogs are 13-2 in the last 15 games Matthews has started, and he has scored 23 touchdowns in his last 20 games.

The Bulldogs will look to test a defense that only allowed 100 yards rushing in its first game. The Badgers defense showed some definite potential, posting three sacks and five tackles for loss.

The Badgers will also have to prepare for the Bulldogs trio of quarterbacks, led by Ryan Colburn and Derek Carr. The Bulldogs must prepare for Badger quarterbacks Scott Tolzien and Curt Phillips.

Tolzien was solid against Northern Illinois, throwing for 257 yards, including an 80-yard strike in the first quarter to Isaac Anderson.

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If the Badgers get their ground game going behind John Clay and Zach Brown, it will be a long day for Fresno.

But the Badgers were somewhat lackluster rushing the ball last week, gaining only 94 yards between Clay and Brown.

Fresno State's defense returns eight starters from a year ago, while the Badgers defense is relatively young and inexperienced, especially at the line.

Expect Wisconsin's defensive ends to record a few more sacks in this game. J.J. Watt is very athletic and good sealing off the outside against the run and containing the quarterback.

On special teams the Badgers looked a little better than last season when they were last in the nation in kick return yards.

The kicking game struggled uncharacteristically last week, as sophomore Phillip Welch missed two. You can expect him to rebound this week, and be perfect on any attempts he makes.

This game will start off slow, but the Badgers will avoid the mistake they made last week of lowering their intensity when they are ahead. The Badgers will win this game in the second half by pounding the rock.

What to Watch

Wide receivers

The Badger receivers really stepped up last week, and had one of the better games as a group I have seen in a while. Garret Graham was his usual consistent self.

Was the effectiveness of the Badgers' passing game just an illusion, or will they be able to have some continuity throughout the season?


The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win this game. The Badgers need to be very tight on the penalties, and not turn the ball over. Tolzien threw two picks last week, but no one can blame the first one on him. Someone on the offensive line missed an assignment.

Big Ten 

The Big Ten has a big chance to return to the national spotlight this weekend. Purdue versus Oregon, OSU versus USC, and Michigan versus Notre Dame highlight a big weekend for the conference.