Nov 20, 2019

Comin’ back home

Photo Courtesy of University of Hawai’i Athletics

The sound of screaming football fans hasn’t been heard at Bulldog Stadium since Sept. 18, but come Saturday that deafening sound will be back.

Saturday’s game will be the homecoming celebration as the Bulldogs take on their oldest rival – the San Jose State Spartans. The Spartans have not won a game on the road this season and have not won in Fresno for 22 years.

The Spartans are 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) this season, while Fresno State is 2-3 overall, 1-1 in the WAC.

Junior wide receiver Devon Wylie said that playing the homecoming game against a rival makes the game much more important. “[Playing a rival gives] that much more motivation,” Wylie said.

The Bulldogs and the Spartans first faced off in 1921 and will be playing for the 74th time in history. The Bulldogs lead the series 37-33-3 and have won the last two meetings in the series.

“It’s always a big game against San Jose whether it’s homecoming or not,” tight end Isaac Kinter said.

The importance in school pride comes out at the homecoming game. Wylie said, “Respecting and holding up a good tradition and being proud of playing for Fresno State.”

Photo Courtesy of University of Hawai’i Athletics

Kinter said that playing in the homecoming game doesn’t have any more weight than others.

“I just play the game and let everybody else worry about all the other events and stuff,” Kinter said.

The idea of homecoming this season has more meaning for the football team. The ’Dogs only have five home games this season and two of them are already in the books, so playing in front of the home crowd can bring added pressure to the players.

“You don’t want to put the whole city through a loss,” junior linebacker Ben Jacobs said.

The premise of homecoming annually brings back former students to share in the spirit of the school. The football team will get a chance to show its skills in front of such a crowd.

Jacobs’ concerns come with playing in front of former football players more than any other alum.

“You know they used to do it too, so you want to come out and play big,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs also said he wants to show the alums the “legacy” they left behind.

Of course the alumni will not be the only fans in attendance to witness what the football team has to offer. Current students will see the “legacy” of the football team as well.

Senior wide receiver Chastin West said he looks forward to the student athletes coming to the game.

“You get to showcase your skills in front of them,” West said.

The skills of the ’Dogs were seen last Saturday against Hawaii, laying a 42-17 beatdown on the Warriors. The momentum from such a win into the game against San Jose State can be a building block.

Jacobs and Kinter said practice will be the place for the team to get better, but others think the win should not go to the team’s head.

“We have to stay hungry and we can’t take the win for granted or feel we’re on a high horse,” Wylie said.

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