Inglewood, CA – Under the bright lights of SoFi Stadium, the Utah State Aggies (11-3) used their second quarter surge to top the Oregon State Beavers 24-13 (7-6) in the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl on Saturday evening.
“It was a special night for this group of guys. I honestly could not be more proud in what they have accomplished,” said Utah State head coach Blake Anderson.
Oregon State scored with ease on the opening drive with a 20-yard touchdown run up the outside by Jesiah Irish to get on the board 7-0 at the 14:02 mark.
The Beavers seemed to run out of gas in the second quarter, and the Aggies began to come alive.
Cooper Legas threw a pass right on the money to Devin Thompkins for a 62-yard reception to the house and tied the game at 7-7 with 14:42 minutes to go before the halftime break.
Legas threw for 171 yards (11/20) and scored two touchdowns for Utah State.
“As the defense, we just looked at each other and we just responded. For some reason we like to spot people points before we start playing. We just don’t give up. Next play mentality. We didn’t flinch as a defense. Props to them they scripted a nice first drive but we were able to respond right then and there,” said Utah State’s defensive end Nick Heniger.
The Aggies took their first lead with a 15-yard touchdown run by Calvin Tyler Jr. to lead at the break 14-10.
The odds were forever in the Aggie’s favor going in the second half.
Brandon Bowling caught an easy money 5-yard touchdown reception at 3:49 in the third quarter to extend the lead to 24-10.
“We are Mountain West Champions and now we are bowl champions. It’s crazy how it all paid off. I’m beyond blessed to just be here in this position,” said Deven Thompkins.
Defensive end Nick Heniger had seven total tackles and recorded career highs in sacks (3) and tackles for loss (5) tonight.
“Hopefully, I left a legacy that I won’t be forgotten. We all bought into this man’s [head coach Anderson] philosophy. I just love him,” said Heniger.
Coach Anderson commented on quarterback Logan Bonner’s injury during the game.
“Logan had a knee injury. In terms of being able to play and throw the ball effectively like he needed to without discomfort he just couldn’t do it. It would have been careless to try and leave him out there. So we chose to hold him and Cooper came in and he played great,” said coach Anderson.
Oregon State head coach Johnathan Smith shared where he believed his team fell short in the game.
“I’m still really proud of this group. We didn’t have it tonight. We didn’t execute offensively for a longer period of time to score.”
Oregon State led 3-0 all-time against Utah State prior to the game. The two teams last met in 1998 with a 20-16 victory for the Beavers.
This was the Aggies (11-3, 6-2 MWC) ninth appearance in a bowl game in 11 seasons and 15th overall.
This was the Beavers (7-6, 5-4 Pac-12) first bowl game since 2013, and it was the team’s 18th bowl game appearance overall.
“We celebrate tonight and wake up tomorrow morning and get back to a clean slate. We’re just getting started. As we build and develop and recruit, who knows what we are capable of. This is just the beginning,” said coach Anderson.