Camellia Bowl 2021: Ball State vs Georgia State: How to Watch, Preview, Prediction

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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.