FRESH START PJ Hill is first Badger not named Brian Calhoun to top the 100 yard rushing mark since last year's Bowling Green game on September 3, 2005. It was also the first time since the 2001 season, when Anthony Davis had 147 yards in his Badger debut, that a freshman clipped the century mark. Davis went on to gain 614 yards in his first four games as a Badger, that is 163.5 yards per contest. PJH is now just 1653 yards short of former Badger Ron Dayne's freshman rushing record. You have to set goals, right? J
FIRST TIME IS A CHARM Bill Rentmeester's TD reception was the first of his career. It was also the first reception of the 2006 season. The last Badger to score on his first reception of the season was Marcus Randle-El (Temple, 9/3/2005). Oh by the way --- this was the first reception of his career.
BACK IN THE SADDLE…AGAIN Coach Bret Bielema toyed with the thoughts of media and Badger fans all week when speaking of who his starting QB would be for game one. "The media is going to have fun with me all year," the excitable first year head coach stated after the game. "This was my chance to have some fun with them." John Stocco was, indeed, the starter. He finished the game completing nine passes in 15 attempts for 124 yards. Stocco also had one touchdown pass to Bill Rentmeester, and one interception. His precision in the underneath route is stellar. The third-year starter showed poise that you are not going to see from a fresh face. He was also very unselfish in his pass selection, as he found seven different targets. Jarvis Minton, Paul Hubbard, Travis Beckum, Hill, Dywon Rowan, and Rentmeester all had at least one reception. Stocco averaged 8.3 yards per attempt, a statistic that will increase as the season progresses. But, a win is the only stat he really cares about.
BEND IT LIKE BECKUM One might never guess that this kid was a defensive player previous to the 2006 season. He runs a very smooth route and looks all the part of a future All-Big Ten performer. In his first game as a tight end, he hauled in three passes that totaled 49 yards. Last year's starting TE, Owen Daniels, only bested that total one time last season - against Temple on September 10 he hauled in a career-high six balls for 88 yards and three scores. Maybe TB finds pay dirt next week against the Western Illinois Leathernecks.
CONTROVERSY IN OHIO Note to Coach Brandon: Barnes is pretty darn good. He showed poise and patience for a red shirt freshman against a Big Ten defensive unit. Barnes is first Falcon QB to go over 100 yards since former signal caller Josh Harris did so on October 12, 2002 vs. Central Michigan. He also completed 12 of 19 passes for 82 yards. While he did not take many shots downfield (only three passes attempted were for more than 15 yards), he was very intelligent in his receiver selection. Projected starter Anthony Turner, who missed this game due to a suspension, may be looking to his left rather than over his shoulder very soon.
1-0 IS THE MOTTO The Badgers' motto for the season is "Let's go 1-0 every week." They achieved that as a team. Additionally, Coach Bielema is now 1-0 as a head coach at the NCAA Division 1A level. "I am pretty happy about this…Go Badgers," Bielema said to ESPN's Wayne Larivee in a post-game interview. Being only 13 years removed from his playing days, you can see that fire in his heart still burning. After senior LB Joe Stellmacher made a bone crushing hit and subsequent fumble recovery on the sidelines, the replay shows the ball coach jumping up and down and pointing the other way like a young man. Unfortunately, the play was overturned by the replay officials. In the end, nothing hurt because the Falcons failed to score. Keep your eye on the sideline this year, you are going to learn a lot from "Biels". Welcome to the victory club, Coach, I wish you many happy returns.
NEXT WEEK The Badgers return home to the friendly confines of Camp Randall Stadium for a 2:30 scheduled kickoff against Division 1-AA opponent Western Illinois. The Leathernecks, coached by former Iowa assistant Don Patterson. He was on the Iowa staff from 1984-1998 as the offensive coordinator. For those scoring at home, that means he was on staff when Coach Bielema played at Iowa. He also coached with Biels for two years. Western comes to Madison having won its' first game 31-6 against Morehead State..and having gained less total yards on offense.