FRESNO, Calif. – To say Fresno State senior quarterback Jake Haener is fired up to play at USC this week, might be an understatement.
He grew up rooting for those great USC teams with Bush and Leinart, but Haener, who went to Danville High School in northern California, didn’t get much of a look from the Trojans in his own recruiting process.
So yeah, he’s just a little extra juiced for this week’s matchup at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“I am gassed up. I mean, noone thinks we can win this game, so why even play this game if noone thinks we can win?” said Haener sarcastically at Monday’s press conference. “Let’s go dude. I mean, it’s the No. 7 team in the country. Let’s go play some football. I mean, this is why you do this. I am gassed up. This is a big week for this program.”
As of Monday night, Fresno State (1-1), who is coming off a heartbreaking 35-32 home loss to Oregon State last Saturday, was a 13-point underdog to USC (2-0), but being an underdog is nothing new to Haener.
“I mean, I’ve been the underdog my whole life man, and it’s gonna be no different this Saturday. Gonna embrace it, gonna love it, and there’s probably some things that I can’t say right now that I’m feeling about this Saturday,” said Haener. “You know, USC was a team that I grew up rooting for, and they never gave me a chance to go play there, and now I get to go play there, and play on a big stage, so there’s really nothing to be nervous about, noone expects us to win. The only people that expect us to win are the people in that locker room and the people in this facility.”
Kickoff is set for 7:40 p.m. Saturday.
This will be the first time since 2017 that the Bulldogs will be facing a top-ten team.