Ball State, Georgia State meet in Camellia Bowl on Christmas
Camellia Bowl: Georgia State (7-5) vs. Ball State (6-6), Dec. 25, 2:30 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)
Line: Georgia State by 5 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Tied 1-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Georgia State could set a program record for wins in a season and continue a tear that started in midseason. The Panthers have won six of seven games after a 1-4 start that included three blowout losses. Ball State is hoping to finish with a winning record and capture its second straight bowl win. The Cardinals had been 0-8-1 in bowl games before beating San Jose State in last season’s Arizona Bowl.
Georgia State’s top-10 rushing offense against the Ball State defense. The Panthers are averaging 224.5 yards on the ground, eighth-best nationally and the second-most in program history. Ball State’s defense is giving up an average of 169.5 yards rushing per game, fifth in the Mid-American Conference.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Georgia St: RBs Tucker Gregg (899 yards, nine touchdowns) and Jamayest Williams (810 yards, nine TDs) provide a solid 1-2 punch offensively. Plus, Darren Grainger is also the top rushing QB in the Sun Belt Conference with 501 yards.
Ball State: WR-KR Justin Hall has 61 catches for 613 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also averaging 34.5 yards on 10 kick returns, including a 99-yard TD.
FACTS & FIGURES
Georgia State is the only FBS team to play four road games against Top 25 teams. ... It’s only the third time Ball State has played in consecutive bowl games, joining the 2007-08 and 2012-13 teams. ... Georgia State was the first team Ball State’s Mike Neu faced as head coach, a 31-21 Cardinals win on Sept. 2, 2016. ... The first seven Camellia Bowls were decided by a total of 32 points, with three of them decided on the final play and all seven coming down to the fourth quarter. ... The Panthers’ super senior left guard Shamarious Gilmore has earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors five times, making the first team the past two seasons. This would be his 60th straight game.
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