Final Practice in the Books, Next Up USC

Dec. 20, 2013

By Jason Clay

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The 21st-ranked Fresno State football team held its final practice at UNLV on Friday and participated in the kickoff luncheon put on the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on the eve of Saturday's match-up with USC.

All that is left is to put on the pads and face off against the Trojans on Saturday in the 2013 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl being played here at Sam Boyd Stadium (ABC/12:30 p.m.).

And that is something head coach Tim DeRuyter and the Bulldogs are chomping at the bit to do.

"This team has the chance to etch themselves in the history of Fresno State football," DeRuyter said. "We've talked about it all year long, we're creating memories that are going to last a lifetime and to have the opportunity to play our final game against USC, to potentially win a 12th game, I really think will cement our teams legacy and our guys are just fired up about the opportunity."

Not only is Fresno State (11-1) looking to win a program-record 12th game, but the Bulldogs are out to prove that they are better than what they showed in their last bowl appearance that was a 43-10 loss to SMU a season ago in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.

"I think we've had better focus from our players," DeRuyter said about this year's bowl preparations. "When you play an opponent like USC you better be, so I think that was big. I think last year after winning a share of the championship, the bowl game was almost anti-climactic and I didn't do a good enough job of getting our guys to play with the intensity that we had shown all year. I don't think that's going to be an issue tomorrow, our guys are extremely excited to play this game.

"Our guys know that this is a game that is going to be remembered for a long, long time."



Fresno State, who has won 13-straight games at home, are also excited about the support it has received from the Red Wave. Saturday's game has already been deemed a sellout by the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl and more than a good chunk of the crowd will be dressed in Red Saturday afternoon.

"That's what makes being the head coach at Fresno State so great," DeRuyter said. "We play great at home, we have the Red Wave there, we have them here and there will be a lot of red in the stadium tomorrow so we are looking forward to that. Hopefully it will be loud when we do good things."

Fresno State is making its 25th bowl appearance in program history and its 13th in the past 15 seasons.

This is the second bowl game between USC and Fresno State, as the Bulldogs won the 1992 Freedom Bowl 24-7 in a game Jim Sweeney, Fresno State's all-time winningest coach, called "the biggest game in Bulldog history"

The Bulldogs will be the visiting team on Saturday and dressed in their white uniforms with the red helmets that feature the Bulldog script on them. That is the same uniform combination that Fresno State wore in that 1992 Freedom Bowl victory over the Trojans.

"Catch the Wave" - The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio.

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