Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

Saturday's Late Bowl Tips

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Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern

-- The Raycom Media Camelia Bowl will take place Saturday in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Crampton Bowl. Kickoff for Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

-- As of Tuesday afternoon, most betting shops had Georgia Southern (9-3 straight up, 9-3 against the spread) installed as a one-point favorite with a total of 47.5 or 48. However, by Friday afternoon, most spots had GSU favored by three points with the total at 45. The Eagles were +140 on the money line (risk $100 to win $140).

-- Eastern Michigan (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) is bowling for only the third time in school history and hasn’t won a bowl game since 1987. Chris Creighton’s squad won each of its last three regular-season contests and five of its past six. The Eagles could’ve easily folded their tents after starting 2-0 before losing four consecutive one-possession games, including a pair of overtime losses at San Diego State (23-20) and vs. No. Illinois (26-23). Remember, EMU lost three OT games in 2017 during a six-game losing streak in which the Eagles went 4-1-1 ATS and lost by only 23 combined points.

-- EMU forced three turnovers and had three stops on fourth-down attempts in its 28-20 non-covering win at Kent State in the club’s regular-season finale. Senior RB Ian Eriksen led the way with 118 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.

-- EMU has faced six foes who are going bowling, posting a 2-4 SU record and a 3-3 ATS mark. The Eagles won 20-19 at Purdue as 15-point underdogs when Chad Ryland buried a 24-yard field goal in walk-off fashion. Senior QB Tyler Wiegers, a grad transfer from Iowa, completed 20-of-28 passes for 312 yards and one TD with an interception against the Boilermakers. EMU also beat Toledo by a 28-26 count as a two-point home underdog. The Eagles led 28-3 at halftime and 28-6 with less than 12 minutes remaining. But the Rockets outscored them 20-0 in the final stanza and sliced the deficit to two with 20 ticks remaining. EMU got the stop on the two-point conversion, though, to preserve the victory.

-- Wiegers has connected on 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,887 yards with an 11/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Blake Banham is his favorite target, hauling in 54 receptions for 714 yards and five TDs. Arthur Jackson III has 43 catches for 506 yards and three TDs, while Mathew Sexton has 36 grabs for 506 yards and three TDs.

-- EMU’s leading rusher is Shaq Vann, who has 590 yards, five TDs and a 4.4 yards-per-carry average.

-- EMU has been an underdog six times this year, compiling a 4-2 spread record with a pair of outright victories at Purdue and vs. Toledo. The Eagles are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 non-conference games and 24-11 in their past 35 contests (regardless of the venue or ‘chalk’-‘dog role).

-- EMU is ranked fifth in the nation in pass defense, 35th in total defense and 32nd in scoring ‘D’ (22.0 points per game). This unit, which gave up only one TD in the last three games of the regular season, is led by junior DE Maxx Crosby, who has produced 62 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, seven QB hurries, four forced fumbles, three passes broken up and one pick-six. Crosby now has 20 career sacks to rank him in a tie for second-most in program history. There are numerous other defensive standouts for the Eagles, including junior DB Brody Hoying, junior safety Vince Calhoun, senior LB Kyle Rachwal and senior DE Jeremiah Harris.

-- We should point out that EMU has already faced a triple-option attack this season when it lost to Army. Couple that with its extra prep time for the postseason, and you have a stop unit that should be better prepared for GSU’s unique attack (at least when comparing to other regular-season foes who have such short prep time).

-- In his first full season as head coach, Georgia Southern’s Chad Lunsford has done a sensational job. He took over (a 0-6 team!) for Tyson Summers on an interim basis for last year’s final four regular-season games and went 3-2-1 ATS with a pair of outright victories. Now he has the storied program, one that made the jump to FBS into the Sun Belt conference in 2014 after winning a slew of national titles at the lower level over the last several decades, playing in its second bowl game. The Eagles went 9-3 in 2014 but weren’t eligible for the postseason during their first year at the FBS level. They smashed Bowling Green 58-27 as seven-point underdogs in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl, only to go 5-7 in Summers’s first year on the job in 2016.

-- Georgia Southern sprinted out to a 7-1 start both SU and ATS with its lone defeat coming by a 38-7 score at Clemson as a 31.5-point road underdog. The Eagles appeared to take control of the Sun Belt East division when they rocked eventual SBC champ, Appalachian State, by a 34-14 count as 11-point home underdogs on Oct. 25. However, they dropped their next two games in blowout fashion at ULM (44-25) and vs. Troy (35-21).

-- Georgia Southern bounced back to win its final two regular-season games both SU and ATS at Coastal Carolina (41-17) and at Georgia State (35-14). In the win over the Panthers in Atlanta, GSU raced out to a 28-0 lead and didn’t give up any points until there was 9:45 remaining in the final stanza. Sophomore QB Shai Werts completed 8-of-11 passes for 105 yards and two TDs without an interception. He also rushed for 75 yards and one TD on 13 attempts. RB Wesley Fields ran 16 times for 151 yards and one TD. Werts threw a 58-yard TD pass to Colby Ransom and had a 38-yard scoring strike to Darion Anderson.

-- GSU posted a 3-1 record both SU and ATS in four games as a single-digit favorite during the 2018 regular season.

-- Werts completed 65-of-109 passes (59.6%) for 954 yards and 10 TD passes without an interception. He also ran for 822 yards and a team-high 13 TDs while averaging 5.0 YPC. Fields rushed for a team-best 959 yards and nine TDs, averaging 5.4 YPC. Fields also had 10 receptions for 237 yards and one TD. Sophomore RB Wesley Kennedy had 15 catches for 182 yards, in addition to 395 rushing yards and three TDs with a 7.2 YPC average.

-- GSU is ranked ninth in the nation in rushing yards and scores at a 31.1 PPG clip. The Eagles are ranked 27th in the country in scoring ‘D’ (21.6 PPG).

-- Totals were an overall was for the Eagles (6-6), but they saw a 5-0 run of ‘overs’ snapped when the 49 combined points dropped ‘under’ 60 in the regular-season finale at Georgia State. GSU’s games averaged combined scores of 52.7 PPG.

-- The ‘under’ has been a steady money maker for the Eagles this season, going 8-4 overall. They’ve seen the ‘under’ cash in three straight games and seven of their past nine. Eastern Michigan’s games have averaged combined scores of 49.5 PPG.

Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State

-- Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference will have their representative collide Saturday night in the Big Easy at the New Orleans Bowl. Kickoff from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

-- As of late Friday afternoon, most books had Appalachian State (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) favored by 6.5 points with a total of 47. The Blue Raiders were +200 to win outright (risk $100 to win $200).

-- App State shook off the loss of four-year starting QB Taylor Lamb, who is the school’s third all-time leader in career passing yards with 9,786 after graduating following the 2017 campaign that was capped by a 34-0 win over Toledo as a seven-point underdog in the Dollar General Bowl, to have another terrific season. The Mountaineers, who joined the FBS and SBC in 2014, won the league’s first championship game, remained perfect in terms of winning records at the FBS level (5-for-5) and are going bowling for the fourth straight season.

-- Unfortunately for the program, the enormous success led head coach Scott Satterfield to get a job offer from Louisville, and it was absolutely one he couldn’t turn down. Therefore, Appalachian State is without its head coach. Defensive Line coach Mark Ivey is serving as the team’s interim head coach.

-- Another hurdle App State overcame this season was the loss of star RB Jalin Moore, a two-time All-SBC first-teamer who went down with a season-ending injury in early October. Moore had rushed for 400 yards and six TDs with a 6.3 YPC average, but Darrynton Evans stepped up nicely to fill those shoes. Evans has run for 1,079 yards and seven TDs while averaging 6.5 YPC. Marcus Williams Jr. has run for 536 yards and four TDs with a 4.6 YPC average.

-- Sophomore QB Zac Thomas replaced Lamb and had an outstanding debut season as the starter. Thomas has connected on 62.6 percent of his throws for 1,862 yards with an 18/4 TD-INT ratio. He’s run for 476 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 5.7 YPC. There were no jitters for Thomas whatsoever in his debut at Penn State. in front of more than 105,000 hostile fans. In a 45-38 overtime loss to PSU, Thomas hit on 25-of-38 passes for 270 yards and two TDs with one interception. He ran for 43 yards and one TD. He has seven TD passes without a pick in the Mountaineers’ past five outings.

-- Thomas’s favorite wideout is Corey Sutton, who has 36 receptions for 695 yards and eight TDs. Dominique Heath has caught 22 balls for 299 yards and five TDs, while Evans has 12 catches for 87 yards and one TD.

-- All 10 of App State’s wins have come by double-digit margins. The Mountaineers were double-digit favorites in 11 of their 12 games, as they covered the spread easily as 24-point ‘dogs in Happy Valley. Since 2015, they’re 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS in nine games as single-digit ‘chalk,’ but we should note that they were 1-2 both SU and ATS in three such spots in 2017.

-- App State is 3-0 and 2-1 ATS in the program’s first three bowl games that have come in the past three campaigns. We noted last year’s win over Toledo and in ’16, the Mountaineers nipped Toledo (yes, they played in bowls twice in a row) 31-28 as one-point favorites. In the 2015 Camelia Bowl, they edged Ohio 31-29 as 7.5-point ‘chalk.’

-- App State junior OT Victor Johnson, a first-team All-SBC selection in 2017 who started all 26 games as a freshman and sophomore, missed the regular-season finale with a leg injury. Johnson is ‘questionable’ vs. the Blue Raiders.

-- App State is ranked fifth in the nation in total defense, third at defending the pass, 30th in run defense and sixth in scoring ‘D’ (15.7 PPG). This unit is led by junior LB Akeem Davis-Gaither, who had a team-high 95 tackles, 7.5 TFL’s, seven passes broken up, three QB hurries, two forced fumbles and one sack. Junior LB Jordan Fehr recorded 84 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two TFL’s, two PBU and two QB hurries, while LB Noel Cook had 69 stops, 3.5 sacks, 6.5 TFL’s, one interception, one PBU and three QB hurries.

-- Middle Tennessee (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS) is led by senior QB Brent Stockstill, who will face a stout secondary led by junior CB Clifton Duck (first-team All-SBC last year) and senior CB Tae Hayes, a second-team All-SBC choice in 2017 who had six PBU, three interceptions (for 75 return yards), three TFL’s and two blocked punts/kicks this season.

-- Rick Stockstill’s squad won seven of its last nine regular-season games to win C-USA’s East Division. MTSU locked up the division by blasting UAB 27-3 as a 3-point home underdog in the regular-season finale. Stockstill connected on 22-of-29 passes for 261 yards and two TDs without an interception to pace the winners.

-- The win over UAB set up a rematch with the Blazers at Johnny ‘Red’ Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro just seven days later. This time around, however, it was UAB that captured a 27-25 triumph as a 1.5-point road underdog. UAB’s Nick Vogel buried a 28-yard field goal with 3:23 remaining to lift his team to victory. Stockstill completed 29-of-45 attempts for 362 yards and two TDs, but he was intercepted twice.

-- Stockstill was already his school’s leader in career passing yards coming into his senior campaign. After throwing for 3,214 yards this year, he has 12,126 passing yards and a career 105/33 TD-INT ratio. Stockstill also ran for 178 yards and a pair of TDs this season.

-- Junior WR Ty Lee, a first-team All-C-USA selection in 2017, had another stellar season by making 67 catches for 828 yards and seven TDs. Patrick Smith had 54 receptions for 526 yards and six TDs.

-- MTSU’s ground attack is led by RB Chaton Mobley, who has a team-best 579 rushing yards, four TDs and a 5.0 YPC average. RB Tavares Thomas had a team-high five rushing TDs and caught 34 balls for 232 yards and four TDs.

-- MTSU is bowling for a fourth straight year and for the eighth time in Rick Stockstill’s 13-year tenure. The Blue Raiders had lost four bowl games in a row and five of six under Stockstill until beating Arkansas State 35-30 as 3.5-point underdogs in last year’s Camelia Bowl. They are 4-7 in 11 all-time postseason appearances.

-- MTSU was an underdog seven times this season, going 4-3 ATS with three outright wins vs. FAU (25-24), at Marshall (34-24) and vs. UABG (27-3).

-- Totals have been an overall wash for ASU (6-6), but the ‘under’ finished the regular season on a 6-2 run. The Mountaineers have seen their games average combined scores of 52.3 PPG.

-- The ‘under’ is 7-6 overall for the Blue Raiders, but they saw the ‘over’ go 3-1 in their last four contests. Their games are averaging combined scores of 54.5 PPG.

B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets

-- Arizona State was already going be without likely first-round pick WR N’Keal Harry for Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl showdown vs. Fresno State. Then on Thursday, reports leaked out that ASU won’t have leading tackler Merlin Robertson. The LB, who garnered Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors, is dealing with a personal matter and didn’t make the trip to Vegas in order to be with his family. Robertson had 77 tackles, 8.5 TFL’s and five sacks for the Sun Devils, who were six-point underdogs as of Friday afternoon. Side Note: Herm Edwards’s ASU squad hasn’t lost by more than seven points all season.

-- Kentucky junior RB Benny Snell has announced his intentions to turn pro a year early. However, on a bright note for UK fans, Snell says he will play in the team’s bowl game vs. Penn State. PSU was favored by 6.5 points as of Friday. Josh Allen, who some draftniks have as a top-10 pick in the first round, will also play for the ‘Cats vs. the Nittany Lions.

-- Players skipping bowls to stay healthy for the Draft include West Virginia QB Will Grier, WVU’s best o-lineman Yodney Cajuste, Baylor TE Jalen Hurd, Houston DT Ed Oliver, Iowa TE Noah Fant, LSU CB Greedy Williams, South Carolina WR/special-teams All-American Deebo Samuel, N.C. State’s first-team All-ACC LB Germain Pratt, N.C. State’s best WR Kelvin Harmon, Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill and Michigan DL Rashan Gary. Florida WR Tyrie Cleveland (broken collarbone) is ‘out’ vs. Michigan and LSU will also be sans DB Kristian Fulton vs. UCF.

-- According to VegasInsider.com sources, Stanford star TE Kaden Smith’s lower-body injury that prevented him from playing in the Cardinal’s last two regular-season games (and might’ve cost him The Mackey Award, as he was one of three finalists) “continues to linger” and he’s unlikely to play in the team’s bowl game. Smith, who is listed as 'questionable,' is projected to be a second or third-rounder if he skips his last two years of college to turn pro. We’re told he won’t announce his decision until after the bowl game.

Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.

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