Expert Cappers Picks
College Football
Preview
Georgia Southern vs Eastern Michigan
When: 5:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 15, 2018
Where: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama



CAMELLIA BOWL STORYLINES

1. Eastern Michigan and Georgia Southern are set to square off for the first time in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl on Dec. 15 in Montgomery, Ala. Georgia Southern won seven of its first eight games, including a 34-14 victory over Appalachian State, before dropping back-to-back contests in early November to see their Sun Belt title dreams evaporate, but won their final two games to punch their ticket to the postseason for the second time since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2014. Eastern Michigan turned some heads with a 20-19 road victory against Purdue on Sept. 8, but a bowl bid seemed out of reach after a 2-4 start before the defense, which gave up one touchdown over their final three games, took charge and led the Eagles to their first winning record in Mid-American Conference play since 1989.

2. Georgia Southern's triple-option attack gave opposing defenses fits en route to one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football following a 2-10 campaign in 2017. The Eagles are ninth nationally in rushing yards per game (260.8) after averaging 342.5 over their last two regular-season contests and aim for their second bowl win in program history following a 58-27 victory against Bowling Green in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl. "A bowl game is hard to get to and it's a reward for our players, staff and fans," Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford told reporters. "We had a great season, but to be able to have the opportunity to pick up a 10th win against a great opponent in Eastern Michigan is something we won't take lightly."

3. Eastern Michigan is heading in the right direction under head coach Chris Creighton as he's guided the Eagles to two postseason berths in the last three seasons following a 29-year bowl drought. Eastern Michigan won five straight MAC games, including a 17-7 victory over in-state rival Central Michigan, and hope to put an exclamation point on a successful season by notching their first bowl since since 1987. "Our guys are grateful for the opportunity and proud of their accomplishment at the same time," Creighton told reporters. "It's a really big deal and we had an incredible amount of fun a couple of years ago when we got to go for the first time in a while.

TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Georgia Southern -1

ABOUT GEORGIA SOUTHERN (9-3, 6-2 Sun Belt): Sophomore quarterback Shai Werts had a big year as he threw for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns while adding another 829 and a conference-leading 13 TDs on the ground. Wesley Fields is the Eagles' big play threat as he led the team in rushing (959) and receiving yards (237) to go along with 10 total touchdowns in the regular season. Kicker Tyler Bass, who was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza award, made 16-of-18 field goals - including eight successful attempts of 40 yards or longer - was named to the 2018 All-Sun Belt First Team along with offensive lineman Curtis Rainey and cornerback Kindle Vildor.

ABOUT EASTERN MICHIGAN (7-5, 5-3 MAC): Running back Ian Eriksen was named the MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week on Nov. 26 after rushing for 118 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in the 28-20 win over Kent State during the regular-season finale. Defensive lineman Maxx Crosby was named to the 2018 All-MAC First Team defense after a dominating season as the junior finished tied for sixth nationally in forced fumbles per game (0.36) and 10th in tackles for loss (1.6) per contest while recording his 20th career sack, which is tied for the second-most in program history. Tyler Wiegers threw for 1,887 yards and 11 touchdowns with three interceptions in his first season as a starter while Blake Banham caught a team-high 54 passes for 714 yards and five TDs.



PREDICTION: Georgia Southern 34, Eastern Michigan 31
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Georgia Southern 9-3 W2 31.1 21.6 5-1 4-2 6-3 2-0 6-2
Eastern Michigan 7-5 W3 27.5 22.0 4-2 3-3 1-1 0-0 5-3
Last Meeting
Georgia Southern Eastern Michigan
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Georgia Southern N/A
Eastern Michigan N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Georgia Southern N/A
Eastern Michigan N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Georgia Southern N/A
Eastern Michigan N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Georgia Southern N/A
Eastern Michigan N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Georgia Southern S. Werts 59.6 954 10 0
Eastern Michigan T. Wiegers 64.8 1887 11 3
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Georgia Southern W. Fields 177 959 5.4 9
Eastern Michigan S. Vann 135 590 4.4 5
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Georgia Southern W. Fields 10 237 23.7 1
Eastern Michigan B. Banham 54 714 13.2 5
Touchdowns Player TD
Georgia Southern S. Werts 13
Eastern Michigan B. Banham 6
Quickchart Matchup
Georgia Southern Georgia Southern Off vs  Eastern Michigan Eastern Michigan Def
Georgia Southern 344.3 yards
Eastern Michigan 353.8 yards
Georgia Southern 5.4 yards/rush
Eastern Michigan 4.5 yards/rush
Georgia Southern 9 yards/attempt
Eastern Michigan 5.7 yards/attempt
Eastern Michigan Eastern Michigan Off vs  Georgia Southern Georgia Southern Def
Eastern Michigan 378.8 yards
Georgia Southern 361.8 yards
Eastern Michigan 3.9 yards/rush
Georgia Southern 3.9 yards/rush
Eastern Michigan 7.6 yards/attempt
Georgia Southern 7.3 yards/attempt