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Fighting flu, Wisconsin faces Fresno State

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Associated Press
September 11, 2009
— Staying healthy no longer applies only to game day at Wisconsin.

The Badgers (1-0) have been battling flulike symptoms for days, with swine flu prevalent on campus in Madison.


Team officials didn't say if any of the more than 10 players who were sick had confirmed cases of H1N1, but no starters are expected to miss Saturday's game with Fresno State.


The Bulldogs (1-0) aren't taking any chances coming into Camp Randall Stadium after routing Cal-Davis 51-0 in their opener. The entire team had flu shots earlier in the week in an effort to help guard against bringing the virus back to California before their showdown next week with Western Athletic Conference-rival Boise State.


"I think we should be in good shape," quarterback Ryan Colburn told The Fresno Bee. "Everyone took their flu shots. Hopefully that takes care of it."


The Bulldogs, who are 14-14 against BCS conference opponents in their last 28 games, will be battling another element the time.


The 11 a.m. kickoff means it's 9 a.m. back in Fresno. Coach Pat Hill set an early wake-up call for his Bulldogs all week.


"We're going to get our meetings started at six o'clock in the morning and try to get our body chemistry set," said Hill, who led Fresno State to a 32-20 win in Madison in 2001. "We look forward to it, it's going to be a great game. Those are the type of games that you love to have on your schedule to see what type of team you have."


Last year, Wisconsin escaped with a 13-10 road victory against the Bulldogs.


Wisconsin has a new group of extremely young players and broke in nine starters in Saturday's 28-20 victory over Northern Illinois.


One of the biggest splashes came from wide receiver Nick Toon, who'll now get to face off against Fresno State cornerback A.J. Jefferson, one of the fastest athletes in the WAC and the NCAA's active career leader in kick returns at 33.3 yards per try.


Toon will have a 3-inch height advantage over the 6-foot A.J. Jefferson and is 6 inches taller than Jefferson's teammate at the other cornerback position, Desia Dunn.


"I think the height is definitely my advantage," Toon said. "Speed doesn't really intimidate me at all. I can still play my game, play big and still make some plays."


Wisconsin cornerback Aaron Henry faces Toon daily in practice and is the same height and 5 pounds heavier than Jefferson. He said Toon is tough to contain.


"He's a real big, physical wide receiver and he runs real good routes," Henry said. "He's one of those jump-ball players. If it's just you, him and the ball, a lot of times he's going to go up over your head and get it."


Toon made five receptions for 72 yards against Northern Illinois, both career highs for the son of former New York Jets wide receiver Al Toon.


Not many current Badgers have seen that much of the older Toon, but they all call his son "Larry" because they think his style is similar to Arizona Cardinals' star Larry Fitzgerald.


Of course, the ball has to get to Toon or teammate Isaac Anderson for them to make a difference. Junior Scott Tolzien went 15 of 20 for 257 yards and a touchdown in his debut, but also threw two interceptions.


Freshman Curt Phillips, a threat to run, gained 34 yards on four carries and completed 3-of-5 passes for 24 yards.


Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said the quarterback rotation would continue, with Tolzien getting most of the snaps and Phillips relieving him for several series.


"(Tolzien) really handled and managed the game well, and I like the way Curt came off the bench," Bielema said. "We're going to stick with the same game plan."



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