The Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-5, 2nd MAC – West) play the Georgia Southern Eagles (9-3, 3rd Sun Belt – East) today in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl at 5:30 p.m. The game will take place at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. Our 2018 Camellia Bowl pick has Georgia Southern favored by 3.0. The over/under is at 45.0.
Georgia Southern started out strong this year. They went 7-1 in their first eight games with the only loss being 38-7 to #2 Clemson. But then these Eagles faltered, as they lost two of their final four games. However, Georgia Southern did win their final two contests, beating Coastal Carolina 41-17 and Georgia State 35-13. After winning their first two games of 2018, Eastern Michigan went on a four-game losing streak. They lost to Buffalo, San Diego State, Northern Illinois, and Western Michigan. Two of those losses were in OT. They then went six and one over their final seven games of the season, including three straight wins.
Georgia Southern Analysis
Georgia Southern’s run-based offense has averaged 260.8 YPG on the ground. RB Wesley Fields (959 YDs, 5.4 YPA, 9 TDs) and QB Shai Werts (829 YDs, 5.0 YPA, 13 TDs) are responsible for the majority of GSU’s ground yards. Three other ball carries have three or more TDs and 300-plus yards each. This is an unrelenting ground attack that is mostly responsible for this team’s 31.1 PPG. On the other hand, the GSU Eagles averaged merely 82.8 YPG in the air. This season, Werts passed for 954 yards, competing 59.6% of his passes. He tossed 10 TD passes and no picks.
The Georgia Southern D held teams to 21.6 PPG. The allowed 217.6 YPG in passing and 144.2 YPG in rushing. The Eagles have grabbed 15 INTs and defended 40 passes. Their top pass defender is junior Kindle Vildor. Vindor has four picks and has defended 12passes. The team has forced 13 fumbles and recovered 11. QB pressure
Eastern Michigan Analysis
Eastern Michigan brings a more balanced offense to the field than their Camellia Bowl opponents. These Eagles averaged 27.6 PPG. They passed for 228.6 YPG and ran for 149.4 YPG. Senior QB Tyler Wiegers (64.8 COMP%, 11 TDs, 3 INTs) is solid in the pocket. Of his three receivers with 30 or more catches, senior Blake Banham (54 REC, 13.2 YPC, 5 TDs) has the most catches and touchdowns. Three running backs on the team have each rushed for a minimum of 300 yards. Together, they have scored 15 TDs. RB Shaq Vann leads the team with 590 yards. He has five TDs and averaged 4.4 YPA.
EMU allowed opponents on average 22.0 PPG. Of the 352.9 total yards per game allowed 160.0 of those were through the air and 192.9 YPG were rushing. Senior DL Maxx Crosby tops the team with 18 TFL and 7.5 sacks. Junior DB Kevin McGill has grabbed three picks and defended six passes. The defense has forced 14 fumbles and recovered an impressive 10.
Five Keys to the Game
- Daunting Georgia Southern rush attack needs to dominate
- Eastern Michigan ground D has to step up
- GSU offense rarely passes but needs to be effective when they do
- EMU offers a more balanced attack, which could keep GSU off balance
- GSU D will give up yards, but needs to be stingy in red zone
Our 2018 Camellia Bowl Pick
We do think that the GSU ground game will be tough to stop. Plus, we feel that over, George Southern has an advantage on both sides of the ball. Our 2018 Camellia Bowl pick is the favored George Southern Eagles at -3.0. We also like the over at 45.0. Our complete list of 2018 bowl picks are here.