In the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel Bowl, Utah state defeated Oregon state 24-13. Even though the score was close, the Aggies’ defense tightened up in the second half. I was in attendance for the game and here’s my scouting notes and player pro comparisons.

Sofi Stadium- Utah State players interacting with fans after the trophy presentation before heading to the locker room

Oregon State

B.J. Baylor RB- Sony Michel

Baylor is the Beavers primary back and had a decent night with 78 yards and 4.3 YPC. He’s a very patient runner and finds the gaps in the offensive line well. He’s more of a power back and would be better utilized in a 3rd down role rather than a workhorse one. Baylor doesn’t have breakaway speed and had a hard time making defenders miss at times. Similar to Michel, he’s able to fight for those close yards and fall forward to get an extra yard or two.

Trevon Bradford WR- Christian Kirk

Bradford is a great athlete that’s able to make plays with the ball in his hands after the catch. He didn’t have a great game on Saturday, but did flash in the limited action he had. Bradford was only targeted 3 times and caught 2 balls for 25 yards. He was covered well by Utah state and struggled to create separation at times. When schemed open he was able to produce, but was locked up most of the game. Him and Kirk are similar athletes and have similar average depth of target at around 12 yards. The Jimmy Kimmel Bowl was the last chance for Bradford to improve his draft stock, and I don’t think it helped.

Chance Nolan QB- Mitch Trubisky

Nolan didn’t have the best game with an interception and no touchdowns, but did the best he could with the pressure he was facing. During the game, he was pressured often by the Utah State D-Line and took three sacks. It would have been a higher number if he didn’t evade the pressure well. He was good at evading the pressure most of the time, but eventually collapsed. They tried to help him out by sending him on some designed bootlegs and scrambles which helped open things up a bit more, but this ultimately failed. Nolan can work on his improvisation and pocket presence under pressure. He reminded me a lot of Trubisky in the sense that he has a good mix of mobility and passing ability, but couldn’t be solely relied on to win the game.

Utah State

Deven Thompkins WR- Tutu Atwell

Thompkins is a great athlete, and won the offensive MVP after a great game. He’s quick, runs good routes and is a great deep threat WR. He had a good game and averaged 19.2 yards per catch against Oregon state, which wasn’t even his best game this year. He’s good in the intermediate pass game and runs a good hitch/curl route which he had a lot of success with. On his 62 yard TD he had lots of separation, but other times struggled when going deep. He’s a good deep threat receiver and is similar in stature to Tutu Atwell, who the Rams selected in the second round last year.

Justin Rice LB- Troy Reeder

Rice was the Aggies’ leading tackler and made an impact all game. He seeks out the ball well and has good lateral movement. He did struggle in pass coverage, but was good at sniffing out runs or screens. He’s similar to Reeder in that they’re both good at attacking the runner in the box, but largely ineffective in pass coverage.

From left to right: Quarterback Cooper Legas, Wide Receiver Deven Thompkins (Offensive MVP), Defensive End Nick Heninger (Defensive MVP)

Cooper Legas QB- Jimmy Garroplo

Legas filled in for an injured Logan Bonner and played a decent game. He escaped pressure pretty well, and threw well while moving or on the run. Occasionally, he had problems pushing the ball downfield but his intermediate passing was solid. Legas can defitinely work on his deep passing and his decision making, as he tried to force it to a couple of guys that weren’t open. He reminded me of Jimmy G in the sense that he wasn’t an impressive talent, but could manage the game well.

Nick Heninger DE- Maxx Crosby

Heninger claimed the first defensive MVP in Jimmy Kimmel Bowl history and for good reason. He finished with 3 sacks and 5 TFLs and seemed to be in the backfield on every play. He’s got good speed of the edge and was able to exploit some of the holes in Oregon State’s offensive line. Heninger consistently pressured the QB and was also able to make plays on BJ Baylor in the backfield. He reminded me a lot of Crosby with his style of play and the speed he had coming off the line.

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