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.

KEY MATCHUP

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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