Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl: State of Utah beats State of Oregon
Jimmy Kimmel sprinted across the field at SoFi Stadium alongside the Oregon State Marching Band, clarinet in hand. He concentrated inside the “OSU” formation and began to play, dodging and clapping in the same manner as the group’s routine.
Minutes later he stood on the sidelines with “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” compatriot Guillermo Rodriguez and made jokes about the first Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. A camel mascot named Jimmy Kammel, sporting a black beard and blue tie in a raw Kimmel imitation, stood next to them and began to twerk.
It was not a feverish dream.
“I was wondering when they were there, I was like ‘Who is this?’,” Fan Valinda Johnston said of the oddly dressed mascot.
Some in attendance at Saturday’s LA Bowl, which featured the Mountain West, Utah State champion knocking out Oregon State from the Pac-12. 24-13, perhaps also scratched his head during the presentation of the game. Yet many were captivated by the wacky atmosphere – indicating that the historic Rose Bowl has a worthy companion for a college football game in Los Angeles.
“It’s new, so you have to put your feet in the ground, but it’s fun,” said fan Randy Troy, who said he’s been to two Rose Bowls. “It’s lighter.”
The strangeness was also reflected on the ground.
At the end of the first quarter, star quarterback Logan Bonner was eliminated with a knee injury. So coach Blake Anderson inserted a second Cooper Legas, who had not thrown a single pass in his college career.
But Legas was more than ready, according to defensive end Nick Heninger and wide receiver Deven Thompkins – and an underdog suddenly put in the limelight was about as perfect a summary of Utah State’s season as it was. ‘we could get. The Aggies had gone from 1-5 the previous season to 10-3 and a Mountain West championship, with a final chapter to write, as Anderson said after the game.
“I went over and grabbed Coop, and I just said, ‘It’s time to step up,’” Thompkins said.
In Legas’ first attempt of his Aggies career, he delivered a 62-yard touchdown bomb to Thompkins.
Legas finished 11 for 20 for 171 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Thompkins tallied 115 yards and one touchdown in the air to be named offensive player of the game, while a junior Calvin Tyler Jr. rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.
The Beavers mounted furious pressure on Legas, totaling four sacks. But the Utah State defense countered by keeping the Oregon State offense out of the end zone the rest of the way.
As the Beavers threatened to return to the game early in the fourth quarter, after two touchdowns with the ball at the 11-yard line, the Aggies forced a field goal with a big sack from Heninger. The elder was all over the field, totaling three sacks and five tackles for losses to be named Defensive Player of the Game in his last outing.
“I hope I left a legacy,” Heninger said, choking back tears, “it won’t be forgotten.”
Anderson apologized in Utah on Friday after the Salt Lake Tribune reported he told players he “had never been so glorified to be the victim” of sexual assault . Heninger acknowledged the reports after the game, but praised Anderson’s character, saying, “He’s the real man here.”
Players from both sides had the opportunity to bask in the unique environment of a bowl game in Los Angeles, with appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and trips to Universal Studios Hollywood in the week before.
“These are good distractions to have,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said Friday. “You recognize that there are some good distractions that are going to take place during a game of bowls.”
There were a lot of distractions on Saturday. At halftime, Kimmel and his mascot counterpart unveiled a cannon that fired a T-shirt into SoFi’s top deck. The comedian’s face was plastered against the padding of the goal posts. Men using the bathroom throughout the stadium found themselves urinating on actor Matt Damon’s face – his photo was on personalized urinal cakes, to be clear – according to a bit of longtime Kimmel .
“I’m going over there to find out what’s going on,” joked fan Dale Rynott after learning of the washroom situation.
Rynott came to the game with his daughter, Megan Hannum, whose husband is the director of the Oregon State Marching Band. Hannum gave him Christmas tickets for a “father-daughter time,” he said.
“I’m a happy dad right now,” Rynott said.
Attendance was low at 29,896, considering that Sofi can hold around 75,000.
“I never imagined we would be here, in front of a sold-out crowd – and I was right, it’s not even close to being sold out,” Kimmel joked on the JumboTron before the game.
But those who bought tickets filled the stadium with noise, waving customizable napkins and signs provided at the “Fan Fest”.
Makayla Cox, who was with the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, scribbled, “I sold 4,242 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies” on one of these posters. Her secret to such impressive numbers – upselling when people only wanted one box, the girl said.
Kimmel centered much of the promotion of the event on the concept that it was the very first bowling alley to be named after a person. Therefore, the LA Bowl carried much of Kimmel’s eccentric comedy. But some appreciated the uniqueness.
“I think it should be me,” Troy joked of the sponsorship, “but I don’t have the dough.”