Oregon State vs. Utah State prediction, pick for the 2021 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl

Can the Aggies earn just their sixth bowl victory? Here are our pick and prediction for the Oregon State vs. Utah State LA Bowl game.

The sport of college football is quite possibly the best there is. Sure, you don’t have NFL talent facing each other on every down. But what you do have is most of the athletes playing for their sheer love of the game, as most know they won’t suit up beyond the college realm. Bowl season exemplifies this idea, as it’s the final game of many CFB players’ careers. Here is a pick and prediction for the Oregon State vs. Utah State Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl game.

Oregon State vs. Utah State betting odds and trends

  • Spread: Oregon State -7 (Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
  • Over/Under: 67.5
  • Moneyline: Oregon State -305, UTEP +240

Utah State finished the regular season 10-3, knocking off the then-19th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game. That was the Aggies’ first MWC title, with their last championship victory coming in the WAC — an FCS-level conference.

Meanwhile, after rattling off four wins following an opening-day loss, Oregon State lost steam and went 3-4 in the final stretch. Although they lost to in-state rival Oregon in their last Pac-12 contest, they gave the Ducks a 38-29 battle.

The Beavers’ 7-5 season is their first seven-win campaign since 2013 and their best under head coach Jonathan Smith (previous best: 5-7 in 2019). Can they close out the year with their first bowl win since 2013, or will the Aggies pick up just their sixth bowl victory in school history?

The LA Bowl should be a shootout

As the game total implies, this game will not be bereft of points. QB Logan Bonner and the Utah State passing attack is no joke. WR Deven Thompkins was a Fred Biletnikoff Award (bestowed upon the nation’s best receiver) semifinalist for a reason. He’s generated 1,589 yards (second-most in FBS) and 9 touchdowns on 96 receptions.

He isn’t the only weapon in Utah State’s arsenal, either. Brandon Bowling (52-784-9) and Derek Wright (45-756-11) have produced in head coach Blake Anderson’s first season. Anderson, Bonner, and Bowling all came over from Arkansas State this year, bringing with them an explosive aerial assault.

Oregon State can put up points as well. The Beavers average just 0.5 fewer points per game than the Aggies (33.2). While QB Chance Nolan and WR Trevon Bradford have played well through the air, it’s been OSU’s rushing attack leading the charge.

Redshirt junior RB B.J. Baylor has erupted in his first season as a full-time starter. He’s averaged 6.0 yards per carry en route to 1,259 yards and 13 TDs this season. While Oregon State’s offensive line isn’t great in pass protection, they are exceptional at paving holes for the ground game.

Oregon State vs. Utah State prediction

Oregon State’s secondary is solid, with Rejzohn Wright and Alex Austin on the boundary, Jaydon Grant in the slot, and Akili Arnold and Kitan Oladapo patrolling downfield. Still, few secondaries can match up with Utah State’s passing attack. Just look at what they did to SDSU’s stellar unit in the MWC title game.

Moreover, while I love what the Beavers can do on the ground, they can’t build a dam big enough to hold the Aggies. And if Utah State gets out to an early lead, I don’t trust Nolan and Co. to win a shootout. Jimmy Kimmel may be in the name, but only one team will leave the LA Bowl laughing and smiling.

Oregon State vs. Utah State Prediction: Utah State 38, Oregon State 24

James Fragoza is a Writer and News Editor at Pro Football Network. You can read his other work here and follow him on Twitter @JamesFragoza.