Final preparations underway for Fresno State ahead of USC matchup

30 years after Jim Sweeney led Fresno State to a win over USC, the Bulldogs are still looking for their first win in the Coliseum.

Stephen Hicks Image
Saturday, September 17, 2022
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We're inching closer to kickoff between Fresno State and USC - a game the Red Wave has been waiting for all offseason.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thirty years after Jim Sweeney led Fresno State to a 24-7 win over USC, the Bulldogs are still looking for their first win in the Coliseum.

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It nearly came in 2005. Taking on the number-one team in the country and one of the best college football teams of all time, Paul Pinegar led Fresno State to a 42-41 fourth quarter lead at the Coliseum. But along came Reggie Bush.

Over 500 all-purpose yards proved to be the Heisman moment for Bush. The Trojans survived to win 50-42, one of the great games in the history of the Coliseum.

After losses in 2013, 2014 and 2019 being the most recent meeting, like the Bush game in '05, the Bulldogs were on the doorstep - only to lose by eight.

"This is what you live for," says quarterback Jake Haener. "This is why you play college football."

RELATED: Jake Haener 'gassed up' for Fresno State to face #7 USC at the Coliseum

The Bulldogs are a much older team this time than they were in 2019. For some, that last meeting was a first-ever college football game.

"Coming out this year, I've got a lot of games under my belt, a lot of catches, a lot of touchdowns," says Jalen Cropper.

"I really didn't think I was going to get a chance to play, but I did and got my feet wet a little bit," says Levelle Bailey. "I improved, the game got slower, I got bigger, I got faster. Now, it's time for them to see what I'm all about."

Like in years past, Coach Tedford is expecting a red wave to cascade into the Coliseum.

"I think anytime we play USC or UCLA, it seems to have that same vibe to it," he said. "Everybody's been talking about it all offseason."