Oregon State falls short in their first bowl game since 2013

Georgina Paez, Print Contributor

With 29,896 people in attendance inside SoFi Stadium for the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl game, the stage was set for Oregon State to accomplish what hasn’t been done in eight years.

In what started as scoring at ease for the Beavers, the rest of the game did not follow suit, and Oregon State lost against the Utah State Aggies by a score of 24-13.

To start the game, Utah State won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, the ball was in Oregon State’s hands, and they certainly took advantage of it. Oregon State’s first three plays of the game were executed to perfection, finding the endzone in less than one minute.

B.J. Baylor started the game strong with a rush up the middle of the field for a gain of 12 yards, placing the Beavers on the 41-yard line. Quarterback Chance Nolan then immediately threw a 39-yard pass to wide receiver Zeriah Beason, who caught the ball and put OSU on the 20-yard line. Following the long gain, a touchdown was scored by wide receiver Jesiah Irish as he rushed for a gain of 20 yards off of a jet sweep play. Kicker, Everett Hayes, completed the PAT, and the Beavers made it on the board with a score of 7-0 at just 14:02.

Once the Utah State drive began, key defensive plays were made by the Beavers. Safety Jaydon Grant, cornerback Rejzohn Wright, inside linebacker Kyrei Fisher, and defensive end Simon Sandberg stopped the ball from advancing as the strong Utah State offense put up an impressive fight with players: quarterback Logan Bonner, wide receiver Brandon Bowling and running back Calvin Tyler Jr.

Utah State was making their mark and driving down the field, until Oregon State gained the ball back with an impressive interception made by safety Akili Arnold in the endzone, giving the Beavers the ball back looking to go up two scores early in the game.

On the following drive, Chance Nolan found first down completions to both wide receiver Trevon Bradford and tight end Luke Musgrave, but still could not find the end zone and turned the ball over on fourth down to give it back to Utah State.

The Beavs managed to hold down the fort on the defensive side of the ball and ended the first quarter with a score of 7-0.

For Utah State, starting quarterback Logan Bonner came down with a knee injury sustained from a Beaver player falling into his knee while attempting to tackle another Aggie. This led to them resorting to third string quarterback Cooper Legas with the hopes that he would help lead them to victory.

The beginning of the second quarter brought unease for OSU as Legas completed his first career pass which resulted in a touchdown at the 14:42 mark, with wide receiver Deven Thompkins catching a 62-yard pass.

For his first career start on the day, Legas threw 171 yards off of 11/20 passing for two touchdowns and one interception.

The touchdown put the Aggies up on the board with the Beavers, now with a tied score of 7-7.

Once the Oregon State drive began at the 15-yard line, wide receiver Anthony Gould and running backs B.J. Baylor and Trey Lowe, and Nolan helped move the ball, with Gould moving the ball 10 yards, Baylor moving it 21 yards, Lowe with six yards, and Nolan with 29 yards. This ultimately helped the Beavs attempt a field goal attempt from 42 yards by Hayes.

However, the first attempt was called no good. After a penalty had been called on Utah State for illegal formation, the penalty was recalled, and a new attempt was made now at the 37-yard line where the kick by Hayes was good. Oregon state now led the game 10-7 at the 8:40 mark of the second quarter.

The Aggies responded to the newly taken lead by putting everything into their strong offense. A key duo included Tyler Jr. and Legas. Between the two, they advanced 60 yards and made it possible for Tyler Jr. to finish off the last 15 yards with a touchdown, putting the Aggies up 13-10, and with a strong PAT by kicker Connor Coles, the team secured a 14-10 lead over the Beavs with just four minutes left in the first half.

Ultimately, this remained the score for the rest of the second quarter and the first half was concluded with the Beavers being down four to the Aggies.

The third quarter started with cornerback Rejzhon Wright being called for consecutive pass interference penalties, and to Aggie disbelief was not called for a third consecutive, to start the half off with giving Utah State free yards up the field.

After more back and forth between Aggie offense and Beaver defense, Utah State elected to kick a 25-yard field goal to give them the 17-10 lead with 10:05 left in the quarter.

The ensuing possession for Oregon State contained multiple big plays, including passes to Tre’Shaun Harrison and Luke Musgrave, but ultimately kick a field goal that goes wide ride and misses, keeping the score at 17-10 in Utah State favor with 6:55 remaining in the third quarter.

The Aggies struck while the iron was hot and pulled two trick plays out of their playbook to end with a touchdown scored by Brandon Bowling, thrown by Legas, to give them the 24-10 lead at the conclusion of the third quarter.

With one quarter left to play and the Beavers being down two scores, every possession was a must score drive, with no room for mistakes.

The Utah State defense played tough though, constantly pressuring Nolan in ways he was not used too throughout the regular season. After heroic efforts to keep the Beavers in the game, it became too late as Nolan aired out a pass down field and was intercepted by the Aggies. From this point on, Oregon State had no timeouts, and the Utah State offense decided to take knees for the rest of the game, getting rid of the remaining game clock.

After almost three and half hours of air time, the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl ended with Utah State being victorious and receiving the trophy belt.

Coach Jonathan Smith knew that this was not going to be an easy matchup for his team and expected this from the Aggies. He shared post-game, “Have to give credit to Utah State, they played an amazing game and had an amazing season, to win that many football games deserves a lot of credit.”

Penalties played a major part in Oregon State not being able to fight back at times of this game. Whenever possible, especially when the Beavers were starting to get some momentum both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, the refs would call a penalty against them.

Quarterback Chance Nolan explained, “There wasn’t one play that took the game away from us. I think we kind of just hurt ourselves at times and we didn’t execute to the best that we could have offensively.”

The mistakes became too much for the team at times. OSU turned the ball over three times throughout the game, through a variety of interceptions and fumbles, but notably was the turnover in the fourth quarter. Tre’Shaun Harrison had the ball punched out of his arms in the fourth quarter, giving the Aggies back the ball in desperation time.

On paper, the Beavers had a sound game offensively. Finding contributions from B.J. Baylor as he rushed for 78 yards off 18 carries and Trey Lowe with 29 yards off five carries.

Chance Nolan had 263 yards off 21/30 throws and an interception.

Jesiah Irish had 26 yards off two carries and scored the lone rushing touchdown for the Beavers. Tre’Shaun Harrison had 55 yards receiving off four receptions. Tight end Luke Musgrave finished with 44 yards receiving off three receptions and other tight end Teagan Quitoriano had 36 yards receiving off three receptions. Wide receiver Zeriah Beason had the longest catch of the day, which came in the first quarter, for 39 yards, which happened to be his only catch for the game.

They were good enough to win the game but lost it in moments where they could have capitalized.

PAC-12 award winning offensive lineman, Brandon Kipper, shared, “We begin to try and do too much rather than just focusing on the details. Focusing on our jobs and sometimes that puts us in a position that hurts us. We have to be better on details.”

This season was different in Corvallis for the Beavers. Going undefeated at home in the last season before the old side of Reser got torn down, there was different mojo going around on gamedays. Students were once again excited to fill the stadium, knowing that this team was different than those in years prior.

“We did some good things for the town of Corvallis. And they were really with us the whole way. I think playing at Reser was one of the most awesome experiences for all of us and just having the student body out there, we could feel them then and even today,” said Nolan.

In what ended as a loss, there was a lot that could be improved upon within the team, mainly defense. With Defensive Coordinator Trent Bray looking to have a full season to work with, there is a lot of intrigue as to how this team can improve defensively, especially now while losing multiple seniors to eligibility and the NFL Draft.

To sum up his feelings towards the program following the loss, Nolan finished the media session with, “We’re excited about the team we got and the coaches we got and we’re ready to get back to work.”