FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – It is championship week for the Fresno State football team, which means everything gets amped up a little bit.

“The energy is high, absolutely,” said senior safety Evan Williams. “I think guys are just ready for this moment.”

“It’s everything we ever worked for, all through the winter, summer and stuff like that,” said senior center Bula Schmidt.

“This is exactly what you come here to go do,” said senior wide receiver Nikko Remigio, who came to Fresno as a graduate transfer from Cal in the spring.

With all of the injuries and the 1-4 start, the Bulldogs have overcome their fair share of adversity this year. The oddsmakers don’t expect them to win this week at Boise State, as they are currently a 3.5-point underdog in Saturday’s Mountain West championship game against the Broncos (9-3, 8-0 MW).

The Bulldogs (8-4, 7-1 MW) lost in Boise during the regular season, 40-20, on October 8th. However, they played that game without injured stars Jake Haener (QB) and Evan Williams (DB).

After that game, the Bulldogs closed out the regular season by winning seven straight, getting Haener and Williams back for the final five.

When asked if he felt like an underdog after Tuesday’s practice, senior wide receiver Jalen Moreno-Cropper replied, “definitely not.”

“Coming into this season, I knew we were gonna be in the championship,” he added “Since January, since we started the offseason, I feel like this is the position we should have been in.”

Evan Williams offered a similar assessment.

“I mean, we don’t see it as the underdog role from our perspective, we feel like we can hang with anyone in the country,” he said.

Other Bulldog players, however, are embracing the role.

“I love it,” said Remigio. “I feel like the underdog label for me, personally, has always been tied to me.”

“Personally, I like it when people doubt us,” said Schmidt. “Because it puts a bigger chip on our shoulder.”

This game has a personal connection for Bula Schmidt, who has family on the other side. Two of his second cousins play for Boise State: senior middle linebacker Ezekiel Noa and junior running back Elelyon Noa. Ezekiel Noa is the Broncos’ third-leading tackler, despite missing the last three games with an injury.

There is a chance he might back on Saturday.

“As kids, we look forward to moments like this, and we always talked about these types of moments,” said Schmidt. “And it’s just business this week, nothing personal.”

When asked if he planned on talking with his cousins this week, Schmidt smiled and said, “no.”

“It would mean a lot to us as a team (to win this game),” said Schmidt. “And especially to our city, Fresno.”

Added Remigio, “You know, ultimately it’s important for the program, the university, the fans to be able to bring that (Mountain West championship) home for them.”

The last time Fresno State and Boise State met in the Mountain West championship game was 2018. Both teams were nationally ranked, and the Bulldogs beat the Broncos in overtime.

“To go through that stretch where we were losing, and to finish it out and be in the championship again,” summed up Moreno-Cropper. “I think to be able to win that game on Saturday, I think it is gonna solidify our legacy on this team.”

Kick-off is scheduled for 1 pm PT on Saturday in Boise, Idaho.