SECOND BEST IS NOT BAD Redshirt freshman running back P.J. Hill rushed for 130 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries vs. Bowling Green. His 130 yards were the second-most in UW history by a freshman in his first game. Anthony Davis ran for 147 yards vs. Virginia on Aug. 25, 2001.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema became just the second UW coach in history to win his debut away from Madison. The only other coach to do so was Herb Alward whose 1891 Badgers defeated Beloit on the road. Bielema will attempt to become just the second UW head coach to win his first two games since Clarence Spears did so in 1932. Dave McClain won his first two games in 1978.
HONOR ME THIS Wisconsin enters the 2006 cam- paign with several of its players on preseason "watch lists" for major national awards, including ... OT Joe Thomas Lombardi Award Outland Trophy.. DB Roderick Rogers Lott Trophy Thorpe Award … DL Matt Shaughnessy Hendricks Award Lombardi Award… DL Nick Hayden Lombardi Award… QB John Stocco Maxwell Award… LB Mark Zalewski Butkus Award… PK Taylor Mehlhaff Lou Groza Award
NON-BIG TEN PROWESS Wisconsin is 17-1 in its last 18 regular-season non-conference games. That includes wins in the last nine straight against non-Big Ten foes. UW's only loss during that 18-game stretch was a 23-5 setback to UNLV in Madison on Sept. 13, 2003.
EIGHT, NINE, TEN… Saturday will be Wisconsin's 2006 home opener. The Badgers are 94-19-4 all-time in home openers and have not lost a home opener since 1995 against Colorado (43-7).
CARRYING THE LOAD Entering this season, one of the main questions for the Badgers was how they would replace the offense lost when running back Brian Calhoun entered the NFL Draft following his junior season. In UW's first game vs. Bowling Green, three running backs, two playing in their first collegiate games, combined for 199 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries. The backfield also accounted for three receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt freshman P.J. Hill shouldered most of the load, carrying the ball 22 times for 130 yards and a touchdown. That was the second-best debut for a UW freshman running back in school history. Only Anthony Davis, who ran for 147 yards vs. Virginia on Aug. 25, 2001, ran for more in his freshman debut. Here is a look at how some notable Badger running backs fared in their first games as freshmen and their freshman-year totals
Player vs. Opponent Date Att.-Yds.-TD (Game) Att.-Yds.-TD (Season)
Anthony Davis vs. Virginia 8/25/01 24-147-0 291-1,466-11
P.J. Hill vs. Bowling Green 9/3/06 22-130-1
Terrell Fletcher vs. W. Illinois 9/14/91 14-63-1 109-446-4
Ron Dayne vs. E. Michigan 9/7/96 8-53-1 325-2,109-21
Brent Moss vs. W. Illinois 9/14/91 5-10-0 61-219-1
Billy Marek vs. Syracuse 9/23/72 1-6-0 1-6-0
Alan Ameche vs. Marquette 9/29/51 1-1-0 157-824-4
Lance Smith, who carried the ball eight times for 41 yards vs. Bowling Green, gained the most yards by a true freshman running back in UW's first game of the season since Dayne had 53 yards in his debut in 1996. Chris Pressley, who rushed eight times for 22 yards against UCF in 2004, is the only other true freshman running back to carry the ball in a season-opener since Dayne.
Bill Rentmeester, who made his first career start vs. Bowling Green, caught a four-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. That was the first touchdown reception by a UW fullback since Chad Kuhn caught a TD pass at Michigan on Sept. 30, 2000.