How to Watch Ball State Cardinals vs. Georgia State Panthers: Camellia Bowl Live Stream, TV Channel, Start Time

0
14

For these two squads, the storyline of the game is different for each but really pretty similar. Georgia State, still a young program, is looking for its first eight-win season in its nine-year history. For the Ball State Cardinals, this could be the second straight bowl win for a program that until recently was 0-7 in the postseason. No matter which team walks out of this game with a win, it’s positive and significant momentum for a team that desperately needs any and all advantages to compete for recruits, eyes, and respect.

How to watch Camellia Bowl live Stream start, time

Game: Camellia Bowl
Date
: Saturday, December 25 | Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Cramton Bowl — Montgomery, AL
TV: ESPN | Live stream

Ball State vs. Georgia State: Need to know

Georgia State is looking for its best season ever: On the one hand, Georgia State has been successful for a program that has existed on the FBS level for only nine seasons. This Camellia Bowl appearance is the program’s third straight postseason appearance and fifth bowl game overall. On the other hand, Georgia State has never finished a season better than 7-5. The Panthers enter this game with a mark of 7-5, meaning a win over Ball State would give the program its first eight-win season in its short history.

Ball State took a step back this season: Last season in a COVID-shortened campaign, Mike Neu’s team went 7-1 and beat Buffalo to win the MAC title. The Cardinals returned many key players, including quarterback Drew Plitt, and were expected to compete for another conference championship. Instead, Ball State went 4-4 in the MAC, losing to all three teams that finished above them in the division. A win against Georgia State would still give the Cardinals their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2012 and 2013. A loss would leave them with their eighth losing record in the last nine years.

The game will be decided on the ground: These teams are evenly matched in many ways, but the significant difference is Georgia State’s rushing attack against Ball State’s rush defense. The Panthers run the ball 62.3% of the time, which is the eighth-highest rate in the country. They’re also good at it, averaging 5.45 yards per carry and ranking 20th nationally in rushing EPA. Ball State’s defense hasn’t fared as well, as it ranks 75th nationally in yards allowed per carry, 89th in defensive rush EPA and 77th in success rate against the run. If the Cardinals defense doesn’t improve on prior performances, it will have a hard time winning this game.

Camellia Bowl Picks: The Analysis

Ball State needed a 20-3 victory over Buffalo in its regular season finale to qualify for a bowl game.

The Cardinals are led offensively by senior quarterback Drew Plitt, who passed for 2,248 yards and 17 touchdowns this season with only five interceptions.

Plitt has started regularly for three seasons, tossing 58 touchdowns and getting picked off just 18 times. Ball State won its first bowl game in program history last season, defeating San Jose State in the Arizona Bowl 34-13.

Georgia State won six of its last seven games while finishing second in the Sun Belt Conference. The Panthers rank No. 8 in FBS at 224.5 rushing yards per game behind the 1-2 punch of Tucker Gregg (899 yards, 9 TD) and Jamyest Williams (810 yards, 9 TD).

Quarterback Darren Grainger has thrown 16 touchdown passes and led Sun Belt quarterbacks with 548 yards rushing. The Panthers defeated Western Kentucky 39-21 last season in the Lending Tree Bowl.

MAC under attack

The Mid-American Conference has been exposed during this year’s bowl games. Northern Illinois, Toledo, Eastern Michigan and Kent State have already lost their bowl matchups, all against unranked opponents.

The Cardinals are not at the same level as last year’s squad that pulled off a bowl upset. They have lost six games and only faced one ranked opponent (Penn State, a 44-13 defeat).

Georgia State gave then No. 23 ranked Auburn a rough time in September, leading 24-12 at halftime before the Tigers rallied for a 34-24 win. The Panthers got their run-heavy attack in high gear as the season progressed while holding opponents to 21 or fewer points in six of their last seven games.

Running up the score

The Panthers scored a total of 107 points while winning their last three games. They should have little trouble gashing a Cardinals’ rushing defense that has allowed an average of 169.5 yards per game and 21 touchdowns.

The Cardinals will likely be playing catchup in this game. On the plus side, they have a seasoned quarterback who doesn’t get picked off very often. Drew Plitt should be able to find enough holes in Georgia State’s secondary to get his team in the end zone a couple of times.

It all adds up to a high-scoring affair, enough to go over the 50.5-point line.

Win, you’re in — the end zone

James Williams, a senior, has scored at least one touchdown in all of the Panthers’ victories. It seems a safe bet he’ll find the end zone once again facing a mediocre MAC team.

Williams’ production spiked upward as the regular season wound down, despite sharing carries with Tucker Gregg. He recorded back-to-back 100-yard games, racking up 125 yards in 16 carries with two scores vs. Arkansas State and 108 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown vs. Troy.

Williams was a defensive back at South Carolina before transferring to Georgia State. After having a limited role in his first Panthers season, Williams has enjoyed a breakthrough season and he’ll look to finish it with a flourish.

Prediction

Ball State 24- Georgia State 35

The matchup that decides the game is the Cardinal offense versus the Panther defense. If Georgia State can create turnovers and limit big plays and points, they win easily. If Ball State performs more like the 2020 Cardinals and not the 2021 version that seemingly struggles at time to even break 20, then they win easily. It seems simple, and it is. There’s no need to overcomplicate it.

Now, something to keep in mind is I was a Ball State Cardinal long before I was the head man around the Belt. Hell, I was making my internet bones while most of our current staff members were still in junior high. So, it is hard for me to give an accurate and unbiased look at Ball State and any opponent. Take my predictions, gambling picks, and really, any commentary in general with a grain of salt and an understanding of my Cardinal-tinted glasses.