Utah State football report card: Positive marks for Aggies as they cap off season to remember with LA Bowl win
Here are the grades from the Aggies’ LA Bowl win over the Beavers
Utah State put together one of its best seasons in school history in 2021, winning its first Mountain West Conference championship and winning 11 games for the third time in program history, capping it off with a LA Bowl win over Oregon State.
Here are the grades from the Aggies’ LA Bowl win over the Beavers:
After starting quarterback Logan Bonner exited the game with a knee injury in the second quarter, the Aggies turned to third-string quarterback Cooper Legas, since backup quarterback Andrew Peasley was out with an injury.
Legas, the former Orem High star, got his first-ever collegiate game action on a big stage and performed well.
His first-ever collegiate pass was a perfect 62-yard pass to Deven Thompkins, hitting him in stride to put the Aggies on the board for the first time.
Legas engineered two more touchdown drives. The first was an 11-play, 85-yard drive that featured a 16-yard pass from Legas to set up a Calvin Tyler Jr. touchdown run.
The second was a nine-play, 74-yard drive featuring a trick play where Legas threw a pass across the field, behind the line of scrimmage, to Derek Wright, who threw it to Legas for a 34-yard completion. Legas capped off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Bowling.
Legas finished the night 11 for 20 for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He had one interception, which was a stellar play by Oregon State’s Kitan Oladapo to get a foot inbounds after picking Legas off.
Tyler Jr. had a good game against his former team, carrying the ball 26 time for 120 yards and a touchdown, where he shed multiple Beaver defenders.
Thompkins put a stamp on his impressive season with six receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown.
After USU punted on two of its first three drives and Bonner threw an interception on the other, the Aggies got points on four of their next five drives after Legas came in.
It wasn’t a perfect showing — the Aggies turned the ball over three times (an interception thrown by Bonner, an interception thrown by Legas and a fumble by Tyler Jr. on the goal line) and were sacked four times — but considering Utah State did it with its third-string quarterback, it was impressive.
Utah State’s defense played its best game of the season on Saturday night.
Oregon State entered the game averaging 32.8 points per game, and the Aggies held them to just 13 — the Beavers’ lowest scoring output of the season. Oregon State allowed just 10 sacks all season prior to the LA Bowl and the Aggies sacked Beavers quarterback Chance Nolan four times.
Oregon State scored on its opening drive of the game, a three-play, 71-yard drive touchdown drive by the Beavers that featured a 39-yard pass from Nolan to Zeriah Beason.
It looked like it could be a long night for the Aggies’ defense, but that turned out to be the only touchdown allowed by Utah State all game.
Besides getting to Nolan, Utah State did a good job of slowing the Beavers’ vaunted rushing attack. Oregon State’s 152 rushing yards were the third-fewest by the Beavers this season.
Oregon State turned the ball over two times, a fumble forced by Justin Rice and an interception by Hunter Reynolds. Both came in the fourth quarter, crushing any hopes of a Beaver comeback.
Utah State also stopped Oregon State on fourth down twice.
Nick Heninger led the way with three sacks, five tackles for loss and seven total tackles.
Rice had nine tackles and the forced fumble.
It was a mixed bag on special teams for the Aggies.
Punter Stephen Kotsanlee was good, punting four times for an average of 41 yards, with three of those inside the 20-yard line. Kotsanlee pinned a punt on the Oregon State 4-yard line.
Field goal kicker Conner Coles made his only field goal attempt of the game, a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter that put Utah State up 17-10.
A special teams error in the second quarter gifted Oregon State three points. Oregon State kicker Everett Hayes missed a 42-yard field goal, but an illegal formation penalty on Utah State gave the Beavers another try, this time from 37 yards, and Hayes connected. It put Oregon State up 10-7.