Despite size, FSU crowd brings noise

first_imgFRESNO, Calif. — Entering Saturday night’s Top 25 battle between No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 21. Fresno State, no one quite knew what to expect from either team. But one thing was for sure: The city of Fresno was ready for football.Fresno State head coach Pat Hill called it the biggest home game in school history. 42,387 fans packed into Bulldog Stadium. The student section was all but full 45 minutes prior to kickoff. The pregame music was blasting, and as the visiting Badgers entered the arena via the south end zone, the Fresno faithful let them hear it.“This is a great college environment. Our guys, we talked about the walk that we had to make, the atmosphere that we were going to create,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “I saw nothing but smiles on our guys. They were excited to enter this environment. It’s a great representation of college football and the WAC Conference, and our guys really rose to the challenge.”The players liked it too.“I thought it was great,” linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. “The fans here are great, great atmosphere. All the heckling, I thought it was awesome, I liked it. But they couldn’t pronounce my name, so I was all upset.”Even the youngsters enjoyed themselves in their first bout away from home.“[It was] definitely a different atmosphere; it’s a little different than playing in Camp Randall,” freshman punter Brad Nortman said. “Playing on the road is a little harder, but I just try to do everything I can to block it out, and I did a pretty good job with that.”Apparently, crowds of 42,000 can be just as wild as crowds of 80,000-plus.“In my four years playing, this was one of the best environments I’ve played in,” senior captain DeAndre Levy said. “From the get-go the fans were all over us; it was fun. This was probably the most fun, hostile environment we’ve played in.”The players said the smaller venue actually created an even louder game time environment than some of the massive Big Ten stadiums.“The crowd noise definitely was a factor, especially in the shotgun,” quarterback Allan Evridge said. “It was a lively crowd; they did a great job.”But crowd noise wasn’t the only obstacle the visitors had to overcome Saturday night.“Distance is a factor any time you hop on a plane and travel four hours,” Bielema added. “We haven’t been able to simulate this heat; it wasn’t too bad out there today, but it’s been 70, 60, 40 in the mornings [in Madison]. We jump off the plane [Friday], and it was 100 degrees, so there’s an adjustment there that we couldn’t simulate, and that presents challenges. But I told our guys a great thing I learned when I was with Coach Alvarez, when you’re in this type of environment: It’s the 11 guys on the field that determine the play; it doesn’t have anything to do with the guys in the stands, the refs, the coaches — it’s what those 11 guys do. And they went out and did it.”That they did, as Bielema’s Badgers survived the elements of Bulldog Stadium with a slim 13-10 victory.“It’s big,” senior tight end Travis Beckum said of the win. “Every W is big, especially coming on a road trip; it’s something we struggled with last year.”Coach Bielema knew just how big the win actually was.“That’s a great, great situation to come into and experience success and to beat a ranked opponent,” Bielema said. “Everybody wants to talk about our schedule, but not many teams were going on and playing Top 25 teams today.”last_img

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