Enjoy this, Bulldogs fans. Savor it. This morning for breakfast, order an extra side of bacon.
Fresno State finally slayed the dragon.
You didn't think it would be easy, did you? You didn't think Boise State would go down without a fight?
The Broncos gave them one, erasing a 15-point second-half deficit by scoring 21 points in less than 9 minutes. That's what Boise State does. But just when things looked bleakest for the Bulldogs, they responded with a 13-play, 86-yard drive for the winning touchdown.
Yet nothing was settled until senior nickelback Jonathan Norton, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship in fall camp, defended a final pass intended for tight end Kirby Moore on fourth down with 56 seconds left.
With the sellout crowd of 41,031 going bonkers, Derek Carr took a knee, sprinted toward the Bulldogs sideline and leapt into the arms of anyone willing to hug him. There were plenty of volunteers, including big brother David, a sideline guest.
Fresno State 41, Boise State 40. What a game. What a night.
"What a beautiful game of football," Derek Carr said afterward.
The Bulldogs are 3-0, still a long way from fulfilling the dream season many have predicted. They might see the Broncos again. But this was a huge hurdle. A Half Dome-sized hurdle.
Fresno State put on a good show for ESPN's cameras. The stands were nearly packed (except for a couple sparsely filled sections in the stadium's northeast corner), and fans were screaming their tonsils out.
The defense really seemed to play off the crowd. Players were swarming to the football and flying around with a frenzied intensity we haven't seen in years.
But Boise State doesn't win 10 games every year because its players get intimidated in hostile environments. Far from it. Joe Southwick's cool composure was impressive, and he played through a shoulder injury. The Broncos quarterback never flinched against the rush and kept calmly delivering the ball.
If not for Norton's blanket coverage on that pivotal fourth down, we're probably looking at a last-second field goal attempt. Because Moore, younger brother of former quarterback Kellen Moore, had the necessary first-down yardage.
"I'm so glad that (Norton) was in that spot at that time to make that play," Carr said.
So did everyone else wearing red.
The teams spent most of the night trading punches.
When the Bulldogs converted a third-and-long, Boise State converted a third-and-long. When the Bulldogs completed a deep pass to an uncovered receiver, Boise State completed a deep pass to an uncovered receiver. And when the Broncos held Fresno State to a field goal on a promising drive, the Bulldogs returned the favor.
A leaping sideline interception by safety Derron Smith late in the second quarter had the look of a momentum-changing play. It was only temporary.
Carr quickly led Fresno State down the field, firing completions to Isaiah Burse and Davante Adams before hitting Josh Harper on a slant for a 4-yard touchdown that put the Bulldogs ahead 24-16. But you just knew Boise State would have an answer in the final 2:28 of the half.
It did. Southwick led the Broncos to the Fresno State 8. But on third down, linebacker Ejiro Ederaine and a teammate sandwiched the quarterback in the backfield and forced a field goal that made the halftime score 24-19.
In a one-point game, that sack proved huge.
Fresno State scored the first 10 points of the third quarter, taking advantage of a key fumble by Broncos tailback Jay Ajayi inside the red zone.
But when the Bulldogs settled for a field goal, Boise State needed just 17 seconds (a 58-yard kickoff return and a 35-yard run) to pull within 34-26.
The Broncos weren't done, either, scoring two more touchdowns to go ahead 40-34 midway through the fourth.
Just when it looked like Fresno State's misery in this series would continue, the Bulldogs came up with a drive that will be remembered for years.
"It probably won't sink in until (today), or maybe Sunday, when I just get to sit there with my wife and hold my son," said Carr, who passed for 460 yards and four touchdowns.
Friday morning at the gym, I ran into Rodney Wright and Jason Stewart, two of my favorite players from the Bulldogs teams I covered in the early 2000s.
After we exchanged hugs and phone numbers, I asked the gregarious nose tackle J-Stew (as everyone calls him) whether a win against Boise State would help make up for the painful losses he endured.
Stewart scrunched his nose and shook his head. Heck, no.
OK, so maybe one win doesn't settle the score.
But it sure beats the alternative. Savor this one, Bulldogs fans. You've earned it.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6218, email@example.com or @MarekTheBee on Twitter.