Sport: Ball State not delivered the gift of Camellia Bowl victory in 51-20 loss to Georgia State

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5 years ago, Ball State and Georgia State played in Mike Neu's first game as a head coach. Since then, the two teams have been on upward trajectories. — The Camellia Bowl will be a full circle moment for Ball State football head coach Mike Neu and some of his players. Neu, who's one game away from finishing his sixth season leading the Cardinals, coached his first game back at Ball State against Georgia State . That game, a 31-21 Ball State road victory , was the second time the two programs had met.

The Georgia State Panthers (7-5) meet the Ball State Cardinals (6-6) Saturday for the TaxAct Camellia Bowl at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET. Below, we look at the Georgia State vs. Ball State odds and lines, and make our expert college football picks The Panthers of Georgia State streak in with three straight wins, and six victories in their last seven games while also going 6-1 ATS across that span. The Under is 5 - 1 in the past six for GSU. The Cardinals of Ball State secured bowl eligibility with a 20 -3 win against Buffalo in their regular-season

In college football’s second Christmas Day game since 2021, Ball State couldn’t open the gift it desired. After winning its first bowl game in school history last December, the Cardinals couldn’t complete the follow-up act in the TaxAct Camellia Bowl.

  Ball State not delivered the gift of Camellia Bowl victory in 51-20 loss to Georgia State © Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia State routed Ball State in the second half to secure a 51-20 victory in Montgomery, AL. The Panthers utilized a pair of defensive touchdowns and phenomenal two-way play by dual threat quarterback Darren Grainger to lock up their their second consecutive bowl trophy and third in program history. Grainger claimed MVP honors behind a season-high 122 rushing yards and 203 passing yards on an accurate 15-of-19 showing.

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Camellia Bowl Picks: The Analysis. Ball State needed a 20 -3 victory over Buffalo in its regular season finale to qualify for a bowl game. The Cardinals are led offensively by senior quarterback Drew Plitt, who passed for 2,248 yards and 17 touchdowns this season with only five interceptions. Williams was a defensive back at South Carolina before transferring to Georgia State . After having a limited role in his first Panthers season, Williams has enjoyed a breakthrough season and he'll look to finish it with a flourish.

0 Georgia State -5.5 (-110) 0 Over 51 (-110). Remember, it’s all just fun and games until it puts your kid through college and buys your parents a Lexus. 2021 Camellia Bowl Preview: Ball State Cardinals vs. Georgia State Panthers The Cardinals look to make it back-to-back bowl wins against a red hot Georgia State squad. Miami picks up first bowl win since 2010 in 27-14 win over North Texas in Frisco Football Classic Miami uses a dominant defensive performance to earn their first bowl victory under Chuck Martin.

The Cardinals senior-heavy roster operated without their main star, five-time All-MAC selection Justin Hall. Hall was a catch away from becoming the standalone leader for most consecutive games with a reception in college football history, but an injury kept him sidelined from attaining that feat in Alabama. Even without the FBS active leader in receptions, Ball State managed to jump-start the passing attack early. Longtime quarterback Drew Plitt opened his final game with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Jayshon Jackson to hand the Cardinals an early 7-0 advantage.

Ball State’s edge didn’t last long. Georgia State instantly responded with an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aubry Payne, his first of two scores on the afternoon. After providing the tying score, the Panthers regained control through a potent defensive effort. Pressure in the trenches was a deciding factor, as Georgia State recorded four sacks compared to Ball State’s zero. The most notable sack transpired when Georgia State spun around Plitt in the backfield and the bar jarred loose in the first quarter. Defensive end Javon Denis scooped up the pigskin for a 37-yard uncontested trot to the end zone.

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Georgia State has been on fire since October, losing only once to the eventual conference champion. It looks to capture the first eight-win season in program history with a victory here. Ball State ’s offense has scored 20 or fewer points in five games this season, all of which were losses . The Cardinals defense is reliant on stopping big plays, and Georgia State ’s offense is content with grinding out first downs without needing to rely on explosive plays. Georgia State owns the regional, motivational, and statistical advantages against Ball State and will come away from the Camellia Bowl with a win and

Georgia State opened the season with a 43-10 loss to the Black Knights while Ball State beat Army 28-16 on Oct. 2. Ball State will take on Georgia State at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN. Ticket information can be found here. Robby General covers Ball State and East Central Indiana high school athletics for The Star Press. Contact him via email at [email protected], on Twitter @rgeneraljr or phone at 765-283-8864. This article originally appeared on Muncie Star Press: Ball State football: Cardinals to play Georgia State in Camellia Bowl .

The Cardinals maintained a 7-point deficit heading into halftime thanks to the teams trading two field goals apiece in the second frame. But as soon as halftime concluded, every wish on the Panthers’ Christmas list was granted.

Georgia State notched points on its first possession of the half with a 10-yard touchdown strike from Grainger to wide receiver Robert Lewis. Grainger then showcased his mobility by flying 34 yards to the end zone, untouched, on a zone read. The quarterback then reverted to the aerial attack to find Payne for another touchdown connection. Grainger accounted for four touchdowns in total including three in a game-altering third quarter.

As if the Grainger-led 21-0 run by Georgia State wasn’t deflating enough for Ball State, things only got worse. Attempting to stage a comeback, Plitt’s pass on the final play of the third quarter was deflected off his receiver. It landed into the waiting arms of free safety Antavious Lane, who recorded his Sun Belt-best fifth interception of the season. Lane fittingly found an open lane to the house for a 55-yard return. With two touchdowns, Georgia State’s defense totaled as many end zone appearances as Ball State in the Camellia Bowl.

Camellia Bowl 2021: Ball State vs Georgia State - Fearless Leader Picks and Best Bets

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All you want for Christmas this year is the Camellia Bowl between the Cardinals and Panthers.

Plitt capped off a storied tenure at Ball State — which featured a MAC championship and an Arizona Bowl win — with a QB sneak touchdown in the final four minutes of his collegiate career. It was a bitter end for a senior class, headlined by Plitt, Bryce Cosby, and others, which accounted for many historic accomplishments at Ball State.

Positives for Ball State in the 31-point loss included the stellar play of Jackson. In the absence of Hall, the Cincinnati transfer receiver recorded a career-high 146 yards on 12 receptions. Due to Jackson’s presence, Ball State out-gained Georgia State through the air, 293-205, but the rushing disparity overwhelmingly favored the Panthers at 259-74.

Georgia State finishes the 2021 campaign as winners of seven of its last eight contests, resulting in an 8-5 record. Ball State falls to 6-7 with the program’s first bowl defeat since 2013. After the Cardinals were handled in lopsided fashion in Montgomery, the MAC’s 2021 bowl record was rewritten to 1-5.

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