Oregon State’s reward for a turnaround season comes Saturday: Los Angeles Bowl.
The Beavers take a 7-5 record into their first bowl game since 2013, and they’ll have a solid opponent in Mountain West Conference champion Utah State.
“Awesome opportunity to go down here and play in a big-time stadium in a great city that’s familiar to a lot of our players,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said. “I know our guys are really excited about it. You look at it, especially this year on how many good teams there are in (the Mountain West) that play Pac-12 schools and win a bunch of games.”
The game time is 4:30 p.m. on ABC at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
Oregon State, playing in its 18th bowl game in program history, has done well in bowls with an 11-6 record.
What do the numbers say about the matchup?
Utah State is third in its conference in scoring offense at 33.2 points per game, and seventh in scoring defense at 25.3 points per game.
The Beavers are third in the Pac-12 in scoring offense at 32.8 points per game, and seventh in scoring defense at 25.9 points per game.
The statistical advantage for Oregon State is in the running game.
Utah State ranks eighth in the Mountain West in rushing defense at 162.6 yards per game, and the Beavers lead the Pac-12 at 217.4 rushing yards per game — B.J. Baylor is their leading rusher at 1,259 yards and 13 touchdowns.
That could good news for Oregon State, which is trying to get its second win of the season away from Reser Stadium. The other one also came in Southern California — Los Angeles Coliseum against USC.
Offensively, Utah State throws a ton, averaging 305.8 yards per game.
Logan Bonner, the Aggies’ quarterback, has thrown for 3,560 yards, 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Deven Thompkins is their leading receiver at 1,589 yards.
Oregon State vs. Utah State
Bowl: Los Angeles Bowl
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: SoFi Stadium — Inglewood, California
Records: Oregon State 7-5, 10-3
Series: Oregon State leads 3-0
This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: Los Angeles Bowl: Oregon State has advantage over Utah in key area