Business as usual for Fresno State

Bulldogs try to subdue hype around Badgers.

September 8, 2008 

Coach Pat Hill has no rah-rah speech to give his Fresno State Bulldogs this week, nor does he feel any need to give one.

It's no secret how important Saturday's game is between Fresno State and Wisconsin.

With Wisconsin (2-0) climbing to No. 10 in the latest national rankings Sunday and Fresno State (1-0) maintaining its position at No. 21 on both polls while on a bye week, Bulldog Stadium will have its first showdown between two nationally ranked teams.

And a win could rocket the Bulldogs to heights not seen since quarterback David Carr's senior year in 2001.

While Saturday clearly is the Bulldogs' marquee game this season, Fresno State has no intention of treating it as anything more than "just another game."

"Wisconsin, really is no different to us than preparing for any other week," senior offensive lineman Bobby Lepori said. "If you look at it like, 'Oh, they're Wisconsin. They're from a bigger conference than us. They're nationally ranked higher than us. They've got better players than us. They've got a bigger coaching staff than us. They've got more money than us,' then your mind is completely gone, and you make football so much harder than it actually is. You just prepare every week like that game is the last game you'll ever play."

Perhaps Fresno State's annually challenging nonconference scheduling now has made these types of games more routine.

Fresno State will host its first nationally ranked opponent since 2006, when Oregon was No. 20 and beat the Bulldogs 31-24 on two memorable plays: Oregon recovered a fumble after Fresno State blocked a field goal and then the Ducks scored the winning touchdown with an option run out of field-goal formation.

Fresno State safety Jake Jorde believes the Bulldogs will be ready for Wisconsin.

And there's no need to remind the Bulldogs a win is essential to keep their Bowl Championship Series aspirations alive.

"Obviously when a 10th-rated team in the nation comes to your place, you want to do something special, and I'm sure we'll be an underdog in our own house," Jorde said. "But we're not going to be too excited for this game than any other game."

Also ...

*Former Buchanan High standout Taylor Smith never could get his Fresno State career going. And now his career is done. Smith will undergo his fourth shoulder surgery in two years on Sept. 17, and was ordered by doctors to give up football.

Smith, who will remain with the team as a student assistant coach, practiced only during the first week of summer camp before his latest shoulder injury ended his career.

Smith missed all of last season because of a shoulder injury and redshirted in 2006.

*Less than 600 tickets remained for Saturday's game, sports information director Steve Weakland said.

*Fullback Isaac Kinter showed up with a boot on his left foot during Sunday's practice. It is unclear what his status is against Wisconsin.

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