Utah state third quarterback Cooper Legas had a breakout performance at the first LA Bowl on Saturday night.
The runner-up came off the bench to throw a touchdown pass on his first attempt at college and helped lead the Aggies to a 24-13 win over Oregon State.
Legas came into play when starter Logan Bonner sustained a knee injury in the first quarter. Andrew Peasley was Bonner’s replacement throughout the season, but was excluded before kick-off due to a shoulder injury sustained against New Mexico on November 26th.
Legas’ only action that season was late in the game against New Mexico. Coach Blake Anderson said Legas received very few team snaps all season but he has an extremely high soccer IQ.
Legas showed this on his first snap when he met with Deven Thompkins on a 62-yard touchdown strike to tie it on 7 endzone.
âIt was a checkered game of his on the line of scrimmage based on the look he saw. This is probably the first time he’s physically reviewing this particular game, and it came at the most critical time for us, “said Anderson.
Legas also had a 5 yard scoring throw against Brandon Bowling with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter to extend the Aggies’ lead to 24-13. He also had a 34 yard reception after a one-two from Derek Wright.
âNothing really changed in the system today when he entered. We stayed in shape, we stuck with the plan and just got him into a position where hopefully the guys can take the heavy lifting off of him. But he exceeded all my expectations of what he could do, âsaid Anderson of Legas.
Legas was 11 of 20 for 171 yards and one interception.
Thompkins had six receptions for 115 yards and set a school record with 102 catches in a single season. The senior – who was named the game’s offensive MVP – said he was confident Legas would be able to step up
âI told all wide receivers that we can help Coop, just build that confidence and play well. And honestly, he didn’t even need it, “Thompkins said.” He was ready to go and it showed the future he’ll have here as a Utah State Aggie, so I’m definitely proud of him. “
Calvin Tyler Jr., who was in the state of Oregon for four years before moving, ran 120 yards. He also scored the green touchdown on a 15-yard run 4:24 in the second quarter to give Utah State a 14-10 lead (11-3).
Oregon State (7-6) received the opening kick, scoring 58 seconds in the game when Jesiah Irish jet sweeped 20 yards up the left sideline. This turned out to be the Beavers’ only touchdown, however, as his other points came on a pair of field goals from Everett Hayes.
Nolan’s chance was 21 of 30 for 263 yards and one interception, while BJ Baylor, who led the Pac-12 in the rushing, had 18 carries for 78 yards.
“We helped them and we had a lot of self-inflicted wounds,” said coach Jonathan Smith. “I thought we were defensive enough, but we couldn’t do anything on the offensive.”
The Mountain West champion has won four of the last five bowl games when paired against the Pac-12.
The Utah state win also gave the MWC a 6-5 lead over the Pac-12 in games that season. It is the third time since 1999 and the first time since 2008 that the conference has had a track record of the Pac-12.
The Aggies ended up having two of the victories. They opened the season with a 26-23 win in Washington State. It’s the first time Utah State has two wins against Power Five teams in one season.
Defensive end Nick Heninger, who had three sacks and five tackles to lose to win defensive MVP honors, said his last two Utah wins meant a little more to him.
âI came from a Pac-12 team at the University of Utah. And knowing that San Diego State had defeated Utah and Oregon State had defeated Utah, I had some extra motivation, âhe said. “I think it doesn’t matter who we play against and we will do our best”,
EARLY EVENING WITH KIMMEL
Late night host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who is one of the game’s hosts, was featured frequently on the video board and on the sidelines throughout the game. Before the game he played the clarinet with the Oregon State Band.
Kimmel took both teams to the game as guests for recordings of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
State of Utah: After earning fifth place in the Mountain Division the preseason, the Aggies crowned a great first-year season for Anderson with the program’s first Conference title since 2012 and a bowl win.
Oregon State: Despite the loss, the Beavers finish their first win record since 2013. They’ll bring back most of their starters, but Baylor – a first-team All-Pac 12 selection – hasn’t made a decision as to whether he’ll do it early on Go NFL Draft.
State of Utah: Start the 2022 season against Connecticut on August 27th.
Oregon State: Begins next season hosting Boise State on September 3rd.
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