Apparently Fresno State’s trip to Los Angeles this week to battle the seventh-ranked USC Trojans means a little bit extra to Bulldogs quarterback Jake Haener.

“USC was the team I grew up rooting for and they never gave me a chance to go play there,” he said this week, according to 247Sports’ Jackson Moore. “Now I get to go play there and play on a big stage.

“I remember through the recruiting process, I really wanted to get a USC offer. Little Jake Haener was too small to play there and didn’t have enough stars on his name. I never got that opportunity. But now I get to go in there and play and do everything I can to help our team get a win on Saturday. I think we’re going to go in there with that mindset and play as the underdogs and do everything we can to give the Trojans a fight.”

A Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista quarterback, Haener has had an interesting career to this point. He originally committed to Washington, his mom’s alma mater. He was a 3-star quarterback and the 25th-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2017 class. He spent two seasons in Seattle before abruptly jumping to Fresno State after losing the UW camp quarterback competition to Jacob Eason in 2019.

When Fresno State head coach Kalen DeBoer left to take the UW job, Haener almost immediately jumped into the transfer portal, was widely expected to follow DeBoer to Seattle, but then had a change of heart and decided to stay at Fresno State.

USC signed 4-star quarterback Jack Sears during that 2017 class. A year later, it signed 5-star JT Daniels.

Haener has made a pretty good career for himself. So far, in two full seasons and two games at Fresno State, he’s thrown for 6,854 yards and 50 touchdowns. This season, Haener is completing 75% of his passes for 737 yards and three scores against no interceptions.

USC and Fresno State kick off Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT on FOX.