Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl: Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Utah State Aggies look to cap their turnaround with a bowl win over Oregon State. Here’s how to watch the LA Bowl and what to watch for.
Can the Aggies defy the odds one last time?
JIMMY KIMMEL LA BOWL: Utah State Aggies (10-3, 6-2 Mountain West) vs. Oregon State Beavers (7-5, 4-4 Pac-12)
WHEN: Saturday, December 18 — 4:30 PM PT/5:30 PM MT
WHERE: SoFi Stadium; Inglewood, CA
WEATHER: Sunny, high of 67 degrees
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes ABC, by following this link.
RADIO: The Utah State broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Aggie Radio Network, including flagship 1280 AM The Zone (KZNS) in Salt Lake City. The Oregon State broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Beaver Sports Network, including 1340 AM (KLOO) in Corvallis.
SERIES RECORD: Oregon State leads the all-time series, 3-0. In the last meeting on October 3, 1998, the Beavers defeated the Aggies, 20-16, in Logan.
ODDS (as of 12/18, via Vegas Insider): Oregon State -7
SP+ PROJECTION: Oregon State by 9.7
FEI PROJECTION: Oregon State by 2.8
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Oregon State 59.85% win probability
The Utah State Aggies have had a storybook season this fall and they’ll get a chance to write a quality epilogue in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl against the Oregon State Beavers.
Both teams are back in the postseason after bottoming out in recent years and are led by powerful offenses, so while the Pac-12’s Beavers look like a solid favorite on paper, the Aggies have been in this position before and won’t be afraid of the national spotlight.
Here’s how Utah State can notch its eleventh win of 2021 against the Beavers.
Three Keys to a Utah State Victory
1. Don’t ignore the running game.
Logan Bonner is likely to get his one way or another, but the Aggies might find a lot of success if they decide to lean upon Calvin Tyler Jr. and Elelyon Noa a little more often against the Beavers. Oregon State gave up 4.75 yards per carry in nine conference games and didn’t necessarily stand out by the more advanced measures, either, ranking in the triple digits by defensive stuff rate and power success rate.
Another point in this game plan’s favor is that first-team all-conference linebacker Avery Roberts, who led the Pac-12 in total tackles and paced the Beavers with 9.5 tackles for loss, won’t play in the bowl game after undergoing a minor surgery. Omar Speights and Roberts’ replacement, Kyrei Fisher, are stout in their own right but aren’t likely to cause as much chaos, and no one on the OSU defensive line had more than 4.5 TFLs, so at a minimum the Aggies should feel good about their chances to salt the game away should they get ahead with the pass first and then run to win.
2. Bottle up B.J. Baylor.
The Beavers have quietly been one of the most prolific offenses in the country this year, ranking 19th in offensive points per drive and 21st in available yards percentage earned, a huge chunk of which can be credited to the Pac-12s leading rusher. The 1,258 rushing yards is impressive, but the 6.02 yards per carry is something that the Aggies absolutely must beat.
That won’t be easy, though, because the Oregon State offensive line might also be the best in the country, ranking first in line yards per carry and power success rate, fourth by stuff rate allowed, and sixth in opportunity rate. In other words, Nick Heninger, Hale Motu’apuaka, and company could have a very hard time generating TFLs and winning short-yardage situations, but they absolutely have to in order to stand a chance.
66 yards untouched!
B.J. Baylor into the end zone and we'll push to a 14-0 lead less than 8 full minutes in.
— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) September 12, 2021
3. Win the turnover battle.
This could manifest itself in two different ways. First, while Bonner’s lone interception in the Mountain West championship game didn’t end up hurting Utah State, it means that the Aggies still have just one game all year in which they did not turn the ball over. Furthermore, in the team’s three losses, the Aggies managed a -6 turnover margin with just two total takeaways.
However, Oregon State has often found itself in the same boat. In the team’s seven wins, the Beavers have a +6 turnover margin; in their five losses, it’s -6. In particular, quarterback Chance Nolan has been much less efficient outside of the friendly confines of Reser Stadium, throwing eight of his nine interceptions on the road while completing only 58.9% of his throws. If the Utah State secondary is on its game, they could do the rest of the team a gigantic favor with a well-timed hands-on play or two.
Both teams have more in common than it appears at first glance, but there’s just enough difference in how the Beavers played throughout the season and how they must deal with the bowl game to think that Utah State might be undervalued here. That Oregon State is not playing in Corvallis and will be without its best defender are two significant strikes against which the Aggies should be well-positioned to take advantage.
It will be a wild one, for sure, since both offenses are likely to have their way all game long, but expect the Aggies to come out on top one last time.
Utah State 38, Oregon State 34