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

USC leads the all-time series and 30 years after the Freedom Bowl, Fresno St. is still looking for its first win in the Coliseum.

Stephen Hicks Image
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
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Fresno State has the chance to knock off #7 USC. It's a game Jake Haener appeared to have more fire for during Monday's press conference.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Once again, Fresno State has the chance to knock off a Top 10 ranked USC team. It's a game senior quarterback Jake Haener appeared to have more fire for during Monday morning's press conference.

"I am gassed up," Haener said. "No one thinks we can win this game. Why even play this game, if no one thinks we can win? Let's go, dude. It's the No. 7 team in the country! Let's go play some football. This is why you do this. This is a big week for this program."

The last time the Bulldogs played a PAC-12 school in Los Angeles, Haener's heroics led to a last-second win over 13th ranked UCLA. Facing the Trojans is an opportunity Haener said he has waited for his whole life.

"USC was the team I grew up rooting for," Haener said. "I really wanted to get a USC offer, and little Jake Haener was too small to play there and didn't have enough stars next to his name. Now I get the chance to play there."

In his first year leading the Trojans, Lincoln Riley looks to have brought his 'Air Raid' offense from Oklahoma to Southern California. In two games, the Trojans are averaging 53 points a game.

"There's really no chinks in their armor," said head coach Jeff Tedford. "They have talent all over the field. I saw something on TV the other day about the transfers. I don't know how many, but it looked like they came from far and wide."

On offense, three transfers stand out: wide receiver Jordan Addison, running back Travis Dye, and their quarterback, maybe the Heisman frontrunner, Caleb Williams.

"I'm not going to sit there and just admire the guy that I'm playing," Haener said of Williams.

It'll be just the sixth meeting between the two schools, with USC leading the all-time series 4-1, and 30 years after the Freedom Bowl, Fresno State is still looking for its first win in the Coliseum.

"It's a tough place to play," Tedford said. "If the Coliseum is really rocking, it can be really loud down there."

RELATED: Dilfer, Rivers & Hardwick reminisce nearly 30 years after Freedom Bowl win

Like previous trips to L.A., Tedford is hoping for a large contingent of the Red Wave to make the trip, while he and his quarterback work on turning last week's red zone trips from field goals into touchdowns.

"We can't have a ton of penalties," Haener said. "I think we had too many penalties on Saturday that hurt us at times, and we just got to play clean and play our brand of football. We got to play physical. I think if you play physical, you always have a chance to win."

Kickoff from the Coliseum is set for Saturday, 9/17 at 7:40 PM with the game broadcast on FOX.