2021 will be the inaugural LA Bowl event, hosting Oregon State and Utah State at So-Fi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Sponsored by the Jimmy Kimmel show, the bowl game will benefit community programs in Los Angeles such as One For All and the Boys and Girls Club, seeking an end to food insecurities throughout the region. This season, the Oregon State Beavers from the PAC-12 will face the Mountain West Champions, the Utah State Aggies.
Oregon State (7-5, 5-4 vs PAC-12) put up an impressive turnaround over the last two years. In the fourth season under their former quarterback Johnathan Smith, the Beavers posted their first winning season and a promising 7-5 record with out of conference wins against Hawaii and Idaho. In Conference, the Beavers upset USC, Utah, and Arizona State to raise them into a bowl game appearance.
Utah State (10-3, 7-2 vs Mountain West) surprisingly beat out San Diego State for the Mountain West Conference Championship and raise themselves to their first 10-win season since 2018. It’s head coach Blake Anderson’s first season as a head coach and the Aggies finished the season out 7-1. Their losses only came to BYU, Boise State, and Wyoming.
LA Bowl – The Marquee Attraction: WR Trevon Bradford, Oregon State
Trevon Bradford (6’0″ 184 lbs) is an extremely explosive athlete who was schemed mostly as a run-after-catch runner at Oregon State. His ability to create after the catch is fantastic, and he’s flashed the ability to make incredible catches with an outstanding radius.
The question is more whether Bradford can create opportunities on his own or if he has to be schemed in order to be an effective receiver. It’s hard for guys to get to the next level if they can’t create separation on their own. I think despite his athleticism, there is some technique he needs to perfect to get off of press coverage and create that separation that’s so important. He has his last chance to show off at the LA Bowl when he takes the field for the final time in a Beavers uniform.
Oregon State players to watch
- On Ball LB Avery Roberts
- On Ball LB Omar Spaights
Avery Roberts (6’1″ 233 lbs) is a strong tackler on the inside of the defense. He’s an experienced leader who quickly recognizes concepts and moves to intercept them. He’s more of a field general, managing his teammates and holding everyone accountable. His speed might be subpar for the next level, but he’s an interesting watch regardless.
You have to like the ability that Omar Spaights (6’1″ 237 lbs) brings to the field. He’s a good tackler who plays very well with Roberts, showing solid communication ability. Like Roberts, I think Spaights is a little bit too slow for the next level and doesn’t have the pass coverage ability, but he’s good to watch for this matchup.
Utah State players to watch
- Slot WR Deven Thompkins
- OT Alfred Edwards
- On Ball LB Justin Rice
Deven Thompkins (5’8″ 155 lbs) is simply a special athlete. Made of the TuTu Atwell mold, Thompkins is a very similar receiver to Atwell, who went in the second round to the Los Angeles Rams last season. He’s been immensely productive in the Aggies offense this year, averaging 16.6 yards per catch and going for 1589 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Alfred Edwards (6’7″ 320 lbs) has massive size to be an impact player at the next level. The biggest question for him going forward is just how low can he get? With taller tackles, it’s often a curse as they struggle to win at the line of scrimmage against pass rushers who beat them with their bend.
Linebacker Justin Rice (6’2″ 225 lbs) followed head coach Blake Anderson from Arkansas State and helped bring stability immediately to the Aggies defense. Rice is quick, but not fast. He prefers to work downhill and attack the ball carrier inside of the box but was largely ineffective in pass coverage. There could be special teams value for Rice, but he’s certainly a project moving forward.