College Football Bowl season is under way!
In the Camellia Bowl, Florida International will square off against Arkansas State on ESPN at 5:30 p.m.
Florida International vs Arkansas State (-2.5), ESPN, 5:30 PM ET:
- This matchup in the Camellia Bowl will feature Florida International and Arkansas State. According to Statschecker, Arkansas State has a 34-25 against the spread record as favorites since 2013.
Florida International will enter this matchup with a 6-6 record and a fifth-place finish in the Conference -USA East Division. The Panthers’ biggest win of the season came in their penultimate game against Miami which allowed them to gain bowl eligibility.
Quarterback James Morgan threw for 160 passing yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Tony Gaiter IV had six receptions for 82 yards and one score for Florida International in a 30-24 win over the Hurricanes.
Morgan has thrown for a grand total of 2,248 yards with 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions this season. The Panthers are scoring 26.5 points per game and averaging 371.5 yards of total offense.
The Panthers will rely on their senior running back Anthony Jones, who is close to 1,000 total yards for the season. He has 802 rushing yards to go along with 123 receiving yards and 11 total scores for Florida International.
Arkansas State, on the other hand, came away with four wins in its last five games to finish the season with a 7-5 record. The Red Wolves secured their ninth straight bowl game appearance this year, but they are 0-9 in those matchups. Arkansas State is seeking its first bowl victory in school history against Florida International.
Freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher threw for 2,553 yards with 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions in eight starts this season. Wide receiver Omar Bayless, a projected Day 3 pick in the NFL Draft next year, had 84 receptions for 1,473 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Red Wolves defense is definitely the weakest part of the team. It has given up 34.7 points and 481.2 yards of total offense per game this season which is an abysmal 127th in the country.
Despite their defensive issues, Arkansas State will prevail in this one. The Red Wolves rank No. 14 in the nation with an average of 305.3 yards per game on offense.
The key will be running back Marcel Murray, who will provide balance to their attack. He led the team with 782 rushing yards and six scores in the regular season. Look for the running game to be the difference for the Red Wolves in this matchup.
Take Arkansas State minus the 2.5 points.
Pick: Arkansas State (-2.5) @ -110
By Dan Canova