The Beef Bowl is a 56-year-old tradition that has Rose Bowl college football rivals face off over a plate or two of Lawry's prime ribs in Beverly Hills.

But usually the heroism is left for the game.

This year, Oregon guard Mark Asper was a true, dining-room hero.

Last night he performed the Heimlich maneuver on a random diner who choked on some food:

Perhaps Paul Diamond picked the right time to, as he put it, bite “off a piece of meat slightly larger than I could swallow.” Cause the big guard was in the house. And, perhaps more importantly, he knew the proper way to tackle that chocking victim.

Turns out Diamond's son gave it a try and “pressed a bit too high” before the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Asper moved in and “did a proper Heimlich bear hug,” according to what Diamond told City News Service.

Meat ejected.

Not appetizing if you're a fellow diner, sure. But for this year's Rose Bowl teams that filled the room, including Wisconsin, the dinner was free.

Diamond is a Sherman Oaks-based TV veteran who has written for Married … With Children and Miami Vice. His son Tom goes to Oregon.

Was Asper a lifesaver? Not quite, says Diamond, who somehow clung to life with a clump of protein in his throat. However, he said, “I'm quite grateful.”

As for who won the Beef Bowl? It a publicity event, not an eating contest. Wouldn't be safe.

Tie. But score one for breathing.

[With reporting from City News Service / @dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

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