Last Updated on December 21, 2021 by BVN
Jon D. Gaede | BVN Sports
Just to the west and across the street from the iconic “Fabulous Forum” an elegant modern structure emerges against the skyline. The modern marvel , SOFI Stadium, built on the grounds of historical Hollywood Park, is the latest 70,000 seat jewel in the southland.
Benefiting the local community
A new stadium, a major television personality, and two competitive collegiate football teams were the ingredients of the inaugural event. SOFI Stadium & Jimmy Kimmel hosted, as the Oregon State and Utah State football teams squared off in the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. The proceeds benefited Inglewood’s One for All, the Boys & Girls Clubs of LA Harbor, and the Girls Club of LA Metro. Its goal—addressing food insecurity in those areas.
PAC 12 vs Mountain West
The selection of teams from the Pac 12 and the Mountain West conferences matched an improved Oregon State Beaver team (7-5) from the Pac 12 North against Mountain West Champion Utah State (11-2). The Aggies had significant season wins against Air Force (49-43) and an impressive (46-13) win over nineteenth ranked San Diego State in the Mountain West Championship game. The Beavers also had key wins over USC (45-27) and an October signature victory over Rose Bowl bound Utah (42-34) in overtime.
Utah loses quarterback, then overcomes
The Aztecs scored quickly, moving the ball down the field in the first minute and scoring on a 20- yard rush by running back Jesiah Irish.
Utah State’s record-breaking quarterback, Logan Bonner, was 6 of 10 passing for 68 yards, until he suffered an unfortunate knee injury in that first quarter. Bonner was replaced by redshirt sophomore Cooper Legas.
Bonner had set an all-time Aggie passing record with 3,554 yards through the air, including four touchdowns against SDSU.
Legas would have his hands full on the big SoFi stage in his backup role, but proved to be effective throughout the night. In his very first play from scrimmage, Legas connected with Aggie wide receiver Devin Thompkins for a 60-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven.
Utah State and Calvin Taylor controlled the game in second half
Oregon State managed just one more score, with a field goal in the first half as the Aggies scored another touchdown to lead the Beavers 14-10 at halftime.
The Utah State defense contained the Beaver running attack in the second half, while their offensive line protected their young quarterback.
OSU Beaver running back BJ Baylor, was held under 100 yards, with 80 from scrimmage. Ironically, Aggie running back Calvin Taylor, who played four years at Oregon State before transferring to Utah State, rushed for a game high 120 yards on the night and one touchdown.
Special Student, Athlete Alfred Edwards III, a game changer
Key to that protection was Utah State’s junior offensive tackle, Alfred Edwards III (Redlands High School), who’s 6’7”, 300 lb. size and agility, opened large holes for the Aggie running attack, while shielding their quarterbacks from the rush.
Edwards is a special student athlete, earning his degree in Kinesiology in the Spring and recently accepted into his university MBA program. Alfred said he would love to play in the NFL, however he also seeks to work at the national level in order to help all Americans with critical health care issues.
Beyond the game itself, certainly a great experience for the participating teams and their fans, both universities earned an opportunity to play in the inaugural LA Jimmy Kimmel Bowl at SoFi Stadium on national television. Both teams were also invited to appear on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Show during the pre-week and enjoyed a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood.
Oregon State had its first winning season since 2013, while Utah State won the Mountain West Championship and earned a post season bowl victory.