Arkansas State-Middle Tennessee meet in Camellia Bowl
Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State (7-4) vs. Middle Tennessee (6-6), Dec. 16, 8 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)
Line: Arkansas State by 4.
Series Record: Middle Tennessee leads 9-5.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Arkansas State is trying to rebound from a 32-25 loss to Troy when a share of the Sun Belt Conference title was on the line. Middle Tennessee wants to continue a strong finish after winning three of its final four games to become bowl eligible.
Middle Tennessee’s defense against an Arkansas State team that leads the Sun Belt Conference in total, scoring and passing offense. The Blue Raiders have one of the better defenses in Conference USA but has only picked off four passes. Arkansas QB Justice Hansen presents a major challenge, having thrown for 3,630 yards and a Sun Belt-record 34 touchdowns. Hansen has been intercepted 15 times.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Middle Tennessee: QB Brent Stockstill, coach Rick Stockstill’s son, led the team to a 3-1 finish after missing six games with a left (throwing) shoulder injury. He has thrown for at least one touchdown in 22 consecutive games, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
Arkansas State: DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones needs one more sack to break the career FBS record of 44 held by Terrell Suggs and Jonathan Peterson. The two-time Sun Belt player of the year has 13 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss this season while forcing three fumbles.
FACTS & FIGURES
The first three Camellia Bowls have gone down to the final minute and been decided by a combined eight points. … Arkansas State is playing in its seventh consecutive bowl and eighth overall. Middle Tennessee is in its seventh bowl under Rick Stockstill and fourth in five years. … The teams are former rivals in the Sun Belt, where Middle Tennessee was a member from 2001-2012. … Middle Tennessee players have missed a combined 125 games due to injury, including Stockstill and top receiver Richie James. Only four players started every regular season game. … Arkansas State has held five of its last six opponents to less than 100 rushing yards. … Stockstill has passed for a combined 759 yards and seven touchdowns in two bowl games.
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