In case you haven't heard, the flu has run rampant through the Badgers locker room. As of Thursday, most of the Badgers that went down made a full recovery. The flu can be tricky though, and symptoms can reemerge and the body can dehydrate easier. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the low 80's, so the training staff will have their work cut out for them.
2, Putting the "Special" in Special Teams
Phillip Welch didn't have the greatest of games last week. As a result, he's 0-2 on field goals on the season. He did manage to improve his kickoffs though. Bringing it all together might be a big key, as last years game was a battle of field position and points were hard to come by. On the flip side, David Gilreath needs to find a way to bring the elusiveness he showed at Indiana last year into the kicking game.
3, Don't get Col-burned
Last week against UC Davis, quarterback Ryan Colburn attempted only nine passes. One of those passes, however, went for 92 yards and a touchdown. The Badgers need to make sure they don't cheat forward and give up the big play.
4, America's Best Running Crew
While Ryan Mathews is the feature back, four running backs had at least eight carries and none had more than 11. The challenge for the Badgers will be to adjust to different back and prevent the Bulldogs from getting anywhere near the 310 yards that they amassed against UC Davis. On offense, the Badgers need to establish the running game that was mostly absent against Northern Illinois. We've yet to see if the Wisconsin staff is going to throw a third back into the mix. If Clay and Brown aren't getting it done, maybe new blood will get the run game clicking. The run could also help the Badgers ...
5, FINISH THE ^#@^&$ GAME!
Last season the Badgers lost three games that they led late in the fourth quarter. In one game, the Badgers have given up more points in the fourth quarter (14) than the rest of the quarters combined (six). They also gave up an onside kick that could have led to the tying drive. On the plus side, they were able to prevent a score and keep the lead, but the slight collapse is still concerning. Getting the running game going and returning to the smash mouth, wear the defense out running game that put Wisconsin football on the map.
If the Badgers can keep away from pass interference calls and the big play, this could be a surprisingly good game from the Badgers. If they don't win the turnover battle and if they get behind early, the Bulldogs could use the Badgers' run-them-into-the-ground strategy against them. It's a lot to ask Tolzien (or Phillips) to make a fourth quarter comeback in his second start (or second game). I think the home field advantage, coupled with the experience from the win in Fresno last year lead to a Badger victory. The run game comes back and Tolzien keeps the steady play up.
Final Score: Wisconsin 27, Fresno State 20.