A couple of weeks ago, before the New Mexico game, we talked to Fresno State players about the possibility of playing their last game in Bulldog Stadium. But in reality, they knew they'd probably be back. They are, and it should be a very different scene than two Saturday's ago.
Head coach Tim DeRuyter explains, "You're talking about cementing your legacy as one of the greatest teams in Fresno State history. How many teams have won back–to–back conference championships? This team's got a chance to. We haven't won an outright championship since '91. I mean, that's been over 20 years."
Offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said "Obviously, I mean, anyone that plays their last home game wants to win. The seniors will take care of it. They've set the tone, they've set the tone for us all year long."
For the home finale, the unstoppable force that is the Bulldog offense will square off with the best defense they've seen all season. Which may prove more challenging if number two wideout Josh Harper - who's questionable - does not suit up.
"What they do in the secondary is very different than anyone else we've played. Play a lot of man, a lot of bump coverage, uhhh they play with a great physicality back there, they're very athletic," says Schramm.
As for the lingering question from the weekend - how will the team respond from its first loss - as DeRuyter's said all week, there are plenty of reasons to be ready Saturday night.
"There's nine teams in Division One that have one loss – that's it. Three teams this weekend get to host a championship game, and we're one of those three" says the head coach.
Schramm adds, "As good as they are on defense, we're pretty good on offense ourselves. So, you know, it'll be a good challenge. It'll be a challenge...you know, that's why you play. You wanna play against good people. If you're a great competitor, then let's play against the best. And to win a championship, you want to beat the best."