September 12, 2009

Post Fresno State: Notes and quotes

MADISON, Wis. - If history was any sort of indication, anyone that followed Wisconsin-Fresno State football history knew Saturday's match-up would likely be a tight game. And, indeed it was.

In 2008, the Badgers held on for a 13-10 win. In 2009, it took two overtimes for Wisconsin to stave off the Bulldogs.

The following are notes and quotes following UW's second nail-biter of the season.

Wisconsin notes:

-With the win, the Badgers have now won their last three overtime games. In its history, UW is 5-2 in such games and 2-0 under head coach Bret Bielema.

-The double-overtime finish was only the second time UW has ever been in a game that had two extra sessions. The first resulted in a 47-43 loss to Northwestern in 2000.

-Saturday marked the fifth-time under Bielema that the Badgers came back from a fourth-quarter deficit.

-John Clay's 72-yard run to give the Badgers the lead in the fourth quarter was the longest of his career. His previous career best came at Michigan last season when he ripped off a 46-yarder. The long run also helped Clay tally his fourth career 100-yard rushing day. In total, the Racine native finished with 143 yards rushing on 21 carries.

-Peter Konz, Kraig Appleton and David Gilbert made their first career appearance as a Badger during Saturday's game.

-UW's three interceptions off of Fresno State's Ryan Colburn was the most it had recorded since logging three picks against Illinois in 2008.

-Niles Brinkley recorded his fifth-career interception, Chris Maragos picked his second career interception and Antonio Fenelus captured his first interception all in Saturday's game.

-O'Brien Schofield had 11 tackles in Saturday's game, good enough for a career high. He also recorded a team-high four tackles-for-loss, another career high.

-Philip Welch's 57-yard field goal was the longest of his career and the second longest in modern school history. The previous longest was a 60-yarder by John Hall in 1995 at Minnesota.

-Brad Nortman was bombing the ball during Saturday's game. In fact, his first three kicks each sailed farther than 50 yards. Overall, he averaged 47.5 yards per kick over his six punts in the game.

Quotes:

Bret Bielema on preparation throughout the week after dealing with such widespread flu:

"You know we don't usually practice on Friday's and I told the guys Thursday night because of the work we didn't get Tuesday we need to go out and practice and they didn't bat an eye. I told them today, they won today because they out-worked people. We weren't clean, there are enough things out there that we got to get corrected and I don't want to see repeated mistakes. And believe me, we did some things out there.

"We beat ourselves before the snap three or four times and we can't have that happen and win consistently."

Antonio Fenelus on the Maragos interception in double-overtime:

"I actually thought the receiver was going to come down with it. But Maragos went up and snatched the ball. That's just the type of player he is. He never gives up and keeps going."

Nick Toon on the mindset of the offense prior to Clay's touchdown run:

"We needed a quick score. We needed to get some points up on the board. Obviously John took care of it. It was a great play. As I said, hopefully we can continue to see that type of stuff throughout the season."

Maragos on his game deciding plays throughout the first two games:

"I just want to be a guy that can make plays for my teammates. I just want to go out there and be accountable. It just so happened that these past two games I was in the spot at the end of the game to make the play. Fortunately, I made those plays. Whoever it is, man, guys are stepping up. We played four quarters and two overtimes. Guys are playing hard and playing aggressive. I made the play at the end, but all props go to those guys for fighting all game. It was really a team effort."

O'Brien Schofield on how difficult and trying this week has been: (:53)

"The biggest thing was that we had to cut practice times and meeting times. Coaches wanted us to get healthy. We lost out on reps. Plays we would have seen, we didn't get a chance to see those. We had to kind of punch that in at the end of the week. It wasn't an ordinary week for us."

Clay on the perception that he lost his speed:

"(People) think I put a little weight on, that I'm not explosive anymore and that I don't have my speed anymore. My mom and everybody are telling me that you can't judge a book by its cover. So, I do have my speed still."

Welch on when he knew the 57-yard field goal was good:

"Probably when Chris (Maragos) jumped up and started hitting my head and hugging me."

Scott Tolzien on being in close games to start the season:

"The NIU game was a close game. This game was a close game. I think that's going to help us down the road just being in some tough, tight battles. Just fighting through that adversity and coming out with a victory, that's big for us."

Ben Herbert with an inspiring halftime speech:

For most of the first half, the Wisconsin offense and defense as a whole looked to be out of whack. By the end of the frame, it seemed the offense was starting to get some momentum, but the defense continually gave up big plays and couldn't get off the field.

Thus, when the Badgers got into the locker room trailing 21-17, it was the strength and conditioning coach that had some things to say to remind the team of all the hard work they went through in the off-season.

"He did put things into perspective," Tolzien said. "All the time we put in here. All the competitions we do in the weight room, it was great to have him mention that for us just to see how far we've come as a team."

According to Schofield, when Herbert touched on the towel competitions the team had in the off-season, it really hit home and motivated the team heading into the second half.

"He told us this is what we worked for," Schofield said. "All this time, eight months, all the battles, everything. To be down to our lowest point to where we feel we can't go anymore, what are we going to do about it? How are we going to respond?

"The certain thing he really brought up was the last Friday we had where we all had towels. Whoever tapped out, the other person you were battling against took your towel. He asked us if we were going to let them (Fresno State) take our towel. That was the big thing to get us going in the locker room and we came out ready to play."

Injury report:

-Besides the fact that 40+ players have been stricken with the flu bug at various points throughout the week, the team came out of Saturday's game relatively unscathed.

Freshman Travis Frederick left with a right ankle sprain and did not return and sophomore fullback Bradie Ewing left with a concussion and did not return. Other than that, only Isaac Anderson had a major bout with cramps and no one else was injured.

-Aaron Henry started the game, but was held out for the remainder of the game with the flu.

"Aaron woke up today throwing up," Bielema said. "He was one that kind of avoided it all week and then I guess he called Gary Johnson, our trainer, at about 1:30-2 a.m., and was throwing up and wanted to get something. (He) came down this morning, tried to eat and threw it up again.

"We IV'd him, he tried to get up and take the field, but his body wasn't reacting."

-J.J. Watt was in a similar boat. He was sick through the majority of the game as well.





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