CSJ 2018 Camellia Bowl Preview: Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan, How To Watch and Fearless Predictions
December 15, 2018
Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan (Camellia Bowl) When: Saturday, December 15, 5:30 PM EST Where: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL TV/Streaming: ESPN, WatchESPN (subscription req’d)
Georgia Southern Eagles (3rd Sun Belt East, 9-3, 6-2)
After finishing with a 2-10 record in 2017, Georgia Southern excelled in a full season under Chad Lunsford in 2018 with a 9-3 record.
Obviously for anyone that knows Georgia Southern football history, the Eagles are a big-time rushing team with the patented triple option attack. Only five teams in the country run the ball more and four of them are also option teams.
The Eagles spread the running attack around as they do not currently have a 1,000 yard rusher (although both running back Wesley Fields (959) yards and quarterback Shai Werts (822 yards) could get to that mark after this game.
GSU leads the nation in turnover margin (+22) and has a FBS-best five turnovers on offense this season, which is by no surprise all fumbles.
As a team, Georgia Southern is averaging 344.3 yards of total offense, including the 9th-most rushing yards per game in the country with 261.5 per contest, to go along with 31.1 points per game this season.
Georgia Southern looked like it would be playing in the Sun Belt title game after defeating who would be the champions of Appalachian State in the middle part of its Sun Belt slate but finished 2-2 down the stretch (although it won its last two games).
Key Player: QB Shai Werts has thrown for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns while also rushing for 822 yards and 13 scores this season. Werts has gone 111 passes going to back to thefinal two passes of 2017 and including all 109 passes this season without an interception. Although he doesn’t qualify among the NCAA national leaders (not enough pass attempts per game), he’s the only starting quarterback in the FBS not to throw an interception this year. He will need to keep the turnovers to this kind of number as a key for Georgia Southern to win this game.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: RB Wesley Fields has 2,871 career rushing yards and 24 touchdowns to go along with 36 catches for 588 yards and six scores. His rushing total is the 11th-best in program history. He became the 18th player in school history to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark for their career. He has a team-leading 959 yards this season on the ground and can become the 25th member of the 1,000-yard rushing club at Southern with 41 yards in the bowl game and the first since now-NFL player Matt Breida in 2015. He also leads the club 237 yards receiving and would become the first player in program history to lead the team in both categories. Look for Fields to remain the top offensive weapon and be a top fantasy pick this weekend.
Eastern Michigan Eagles (T-2nd MAC West, 7-5, 5-3)
Eastern Michigan’s top win was over the Big 10’s Purdue and finishing the year with a 3-game winning streak to finish 2nd in the MAC West division behind eventual conference champion Northern Illinois.
The Eagles at one point this season played six games in a row that were decided by a touchdown or less. In fact, five of them were by a field goal or less. In that stretch, however, EMU won just two of the six contests.
EMU won its last three games, however, to go bowling after missing a bowl last year. EMU has three prior bowl games in its history with the most recent a 2016 Bahamas Bowl game. The other two postseason games were in 1971 (Pioneer Bowl) and 1987 (California Bowl).
The Eagles have allowed 17 rushing touchdowns this season, tied for second-fewest in the MAC. Additionally, this defense has been good at forcing turnovers. Defensive lineman Maxx Crosby leads the conference with four fumbles forced and the Eagles as a whole are second in the MAC with 24 turnovers gained. While this defense may give up some yards, their stoppage could come in the form of turnovers.
Key Player: QB Tyler Wiegers has thrown for 1,887 yards, 11 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions on the season. He has led an offense that is averaging 378.8 yards of total offense and 27.5 points per game this season. He will need to keep the turnovers down against Georgia Southern, who leads the nation in turnover margin.
Fantasy Bonus Baby:WR Blake Banham leads EMU in receiving with 54 grabs for 714 yards and 5 touchdowns. Look for the Eagles to use the passing game more in this game and make Banham a good fantasy play this weekend.
Jamie: Eastern MIchigan play a lot of close games this year. Georgia Southern has carved out a nice spot for themselves in the FBS. This game may not get many eyeballs but it could be a good one. Georgia Southern 26, Eastern Michigan 23
Kent:These two teams are trending the opposite–at least a little bit but the Georgia Southern offense is tough to prepare for. I like them to win this battle of the Eagles but just might be the most competitive bowl game in the opening weekend of the bowls. Georgia Southern 31, Eastern Michigan 28
Chuck: Two improved G5 teams face off in the Camellia Bowl this evening, but I wonder how well Georgia Southern’s defense will hold up against the precision passing of Eastern Michigan. Eastern Michigan 34, Georgia Southern 28
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football in the western half of the United States– the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football in the western half of the United States-- the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.