Boise State and Fresno State met for the first time in 1977, but it took 28 years and an agricultural connection to turn a run-of-the-mill match-up into something special.
"It’s just a rivalry. It’s that game. You’re playing for something," said Broncos defensive lineman Kharyee Marshall. "The honor to bring that home and have your name placed on that milk jug is something special."
Idaho and California are two of the nation’s top dairy producing states. So why not milk that fact for all it’s worth? That’s what the Bronco and Bulldog dairy boosters decided to do in 2005, the first milk can game.
The Bulldogs won, but the milk can trophy wasn’t ready. The players never got the chance to lift it on the field, and haven’t since. Boise State has won the last seven meetings.
"We haven’t beat them in a while. They’ve put some pretty big points up on us in the past. It’s our time to get a 'W' against them," said Fresno State defensive back Derron Smith.
"We know the challenge that’s in front of us," explained Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr. "We know the community wants to win and all that, and that’s great, but it’s just another game. That’s where I think we’re more mature as a team, in understanding that."
Fresno State players have been calling Friday’s match-up “just another game” all week. Meanwhile, the university has been striving to sell out Bulldog Stadium- a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 2008.
"The fans are such a huge part of it," said Smith. "They're going to be in Bulldog Stadium rocking loud. It’s just going to fuel us even more. Everybody in the town is looking forward to this game."
Broncos coach Chris Petersen recognizes the importance of the rivalry, but doesn’t think a win or a loss defines his season. "We’re always work in progress. If we go down there and win, it’s not defining our team. And if the other thing happens, that’s not defining our team," he said. "This a long season."