College Football
Preview
South Alabama vs Bowling Green
When: 9:15 PM ET, Saturday, December 20, 2014
Where: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama

RAYCOM MEDIA CAMELLIA BOWL STORYLINES

1. The inaugural Camellia Bowl marks the first ever bowl appearance for South Alabama, which started its football program in 2009. The Jaguars will travel to nearby Montgomery, Ala., to face Bowling Green, the Mid-American Conference East Division champions, who lost 51-17 to Northern Illinois in the MAC title game. The Falcons are making their third straight bowl appearance and 12th overall.

2. Both teams struggled down the stretch, with South Alabama losing four of its final five games and Bowling Green dropping three straight. The Jaguars recorded wins over Kent State, Idaho and Troy, but they ended the regular season with a 42-40 loss to Navy. Bowling Green’s best victory came against Indiana on Sept. 13, when the Falcons rallied for a 45-42 win.

3. Bowling Green allowed 68 points in a Sept. 20 loss to Wisconsin, which helps explain why the team ranks 106th nationally in scoring defense. South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge could have a big game against a Falcons defense that ranks last in the MAC in pass defense (292.4 yards per game). Bridge, a 6-5, 220-pound senior, has thrown for 1,648 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

TV: 9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: South Alabama -2.5

ABOUT SOUTH ALABAMA (6-6, 5-3 Sun Belt): Offensive coordinator Robert Matthews was fired at the end of the regular season, and it’s unclear who will be calling plays in Montgomery for a unit that averages 22.1 points. Wide receiver Shavarez Smith has eight touchdown receptions for the Jaguars, who joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2012. Defensive end Theo Rich (eight sacks) and safety Terrell Brigham (101 tackles) lead the defense, which held opponents to 25.8 points per game.

ABOUT BOWLING GREEN (7-6, 5-3 MAC): The Falcons opened the season by allowing 569 passing yards in a 59-31 loss to Western Kentucky, but first-year coach Dino Babers’ squad responded by winning five of its next six games. Bowling Green entered the MAC title game against Northern Illinois averaging 30.8 points, but the Falcons were held to 287 yards and committed four turnovers in the 34-point loss. Freshman wide receiver Roger Lewis (956 yards) and running back Travis Greene (10 TDs) lead the Falcons’ fast-paced offense.

PREDICTION: South Alabama 27, Bowling Green 24
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
South Alabama 6-6 L2 22.1 25.8 3-3 3-3 0-1 0-1 5-3
Bowling Green 7-6 L3 29.8 33.9 4-2 3-4 0-0 0-0 5-3
Last Meeting
South Alabama Bowling Green
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
South Alabama N/A
Bowling Green N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
South Alabama N/A
Bowling Green N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
South Alabama N/A
Bowling Green N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
South Alabama N/A
Bowling Green N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
South Alabama B. Bridge 51.9 1648 14 6
Bowling Green J. Knapke 57.3 2805 13 12
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
South Alabama K. Houston 134 652 4.9 1
Bowling Green T. Greene 160 908 5.7 10
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
South Alabama S. Smith 50 714 14.3 8
Bowling Green R. Lewis 69 957 13.9 5
Touchdowns Player TD
South Alabama S. Smith 8
Bowling Green T. Greene 11
Quickchart Matchup
South Alabama Off vs  Bowling Green Def
372.8 yards
499.6 yards
4.4 yards/rush
5.1 yards/rush
6.1 yards/attempt
6.9 yards/attempt
Bowling Green Off vs  South Alabama Def
428.2 yards
390.5 yards
4.5 yards/rush
4.7 yards/rush
6.5 yards/attempt
7 yards/attempt