San Jose State v. Georgia State
Citrus Bowl Stadium — Orlando, FL
December 19, 2015 — 7:00 pm Eastern (CBSSN)
Why You Should Watch
The Cure Bowl is the newest of three bowl games that are played at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, beginning its history on the postseason calendar this year with a matchup of Mountain West and Sun Belt middleweights. Someday you’ll be able to tell your friends and family where you were when the inaugural edition of the Cure Bowl took place, for crying out loud! If nothing else, this bowl game will give you a chance to do early reconnaissance on the venue that will host major Top 25 matchups in the Russell Athletic Bowl and Citrus Bowl later in the postseason… and do you really want to break the streak of football watching on one of the last Saturdays of the season with full slate of games?
What Each Team Brings to the Table
San Jose State Spartans
If it wasn’t for the existence of this new bowl game and the need to fill 80 slots in the postseason, the 5-7 Spartans would be nowhere near this bowl game. But only 77 of the 127 full FBS member teams reached .500 in 2015, necessitating a way to fill three bowl spots. San Jose State, as a result, was the beneficiary of the illusion that big-time college athletics are still linked inextricably to education, getting into the Cure Bowl thanks to having one of the three highest APR scores among 5-7 teams. Now that they’re in the postseason, the Spartans will bring a balanced (if mediocre) attack to Orlando, though their defense is hardly balanced. A skilled secondary has held teams to the second-fewest passing yards per game in the country (153.6 yards per game allowed), but the front seven has been abysmal at stopping the run. Their chances of victory will live and die by how many hard yards tailback Tyler Ervin can chew up and how much clock SJSU can run down on offense.
Georgia State Panthers
Georgia State, after going 1-23 in its first two Sun Belt seasons after moving up from the FCS ranks, finally fielded a respectable team that illustrates the clear potential that exists for a school recruiting the SEC’s and ACC’s leftovers in a talent-rich state. The Panthers dominated through the air thanks to the arm of senior quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who ended the year as the 14th most-efficient passer in all FBS. What it didn’t translate into, however, was many points; Georgia State was just 73rd nationally, averaging just under four touchdowns per game. They got to 6-6 with a four-game winning streak to end the regular season, so the Panthers are entering their first-ever bowl game with plenty of momentum. A dominant win over rival Georgia Southern capped a season that already translates as a success for Georgia State, with the chance for a winning season still on the table.
What is Likely to Happen
San Jose State, despite coming in as the 5-7 team, is a three-point favorite in this contest. You should probably expect that the Panthers will not only beat the spread but will also take down the Spartans outright. We will get to see a great battle of strength versus strength, as the SJSU passing defense will be tested by Arbuckle and a group of wily Georgia State receivers. The Panthers, however, should be far less tested on defense. San Jose State backed into this game on a technicality after losing three of its final four regular-season contests; Georgia State plowed through its final four opponents by an average of 18 points per victory. Those fans that do turn up to the Citrus Bowl Stadium, and those that tune into the first of just three non-ESPN-affiliated bowl games, will almost certainly be treated to a contest that stays close through the first half before the Sun Belt squad pulls away in the latter stages of the game.
Georgia State 38, San Jose State 28
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