Georgia State vs. San Jose State Prediction, Cure Bowl Preview

    Georgia State vs. San Jose State prediction and 2015 Cure Bowl preview. Find out who's picked to win between the Panthers and Spartans.

    December 14, 2015


    The bowl season kicks off with a criticized matchup, but it’s college football on a Saturday morning. It doesn’t matter that San Jose State (5-7) has a losing record or Georgia State (6-6) was one of the last teams in. These are two good stories and two teams that’ll try. Check out the Georgia State vs. San Jose State prediction and Cure Bowl preview.


    Georgia State vs. San Jose State Game Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, December 19

    Game Time: 12:00 pm ET
    Network: CBSSN
    Venue: Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, FL
    Follow and/or Contact @PeteFiutak  

    Why You Need To Care

    It’s only about 3,000 miles for San Jose State to make the trip to Orlando, but it’ll be ecstatic to play any sort of game again after getting a massive break. Past teams went to class, giving the school a good Academic Progress Rate (APR) to boost this year’s team up among the best 5-7 teams.

    The offense is entertaining and balanced with a few fantastic playmakers and enough pop to keep up the pace in any sort of a shootout. But after losing three of the last four, it seemed next to impossible to get a bowl bid following a 40-23 home loss to Boise State. Even so, this was a stronger team at times than the record might show, fighting BYU in a 17-16 loss and losing a heartbreaker at Nevada in overtime. The good teams win all the tight games, but the Spartans were able to shine against a good New Mexico team and did just enough against the bad teams on the schedule to get here.

    This is San Jose State’s tenth bowl appearance and first since beating Bowling Green in the 2012 Military, and it’s only the third bowl appearance since 1990. The Spartans might not be a regular on the bowl circuit, but they’re crusty veterans – at least the program is – compared to newbie Georgia State.

    To full appreciate how amazing it is for the Panthers to be in a bowl game is to understand just how miserable the program was since getting into the FBS world.

    Starting out 0-12 in 2013 and 1-24 before getting the first win over an FBS team beating New Mexico State this year. It seemed like another lost year starting out 1-4 and 2-6, but the offense suddenly perked up, the defense got a whole lot better, and the Panthers finished winning four straight to become bowl eligible for the first time ever.

    Why San Jose State Will Win

    Georgia State can run the ball a little bit lately with three of the last four games cranking out 143 yards or more, but this isn’t a running team. There’s no real pop averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, but the passing game is outstanding with Nick Arbuckle bombing away to make the offense go. There’s one problem with that – San Jose State is second in the nation in pass defense. Granted, that’s partly because teams have spent so much time cranking out the ground game, but the secondary really is solid allowing just 154 yards per game. Throw in the disciplined way the Spartans play in terms of penalties – and the seven sins a game Georgia State gets hit for – and this is a good matchup. However …

    Why Georgia State Will Win

    There’s a chance the Georgia State passing game goes off – No. 2 SJSU pass defense or not.

    How did the Panthers get it done over the second half of the season? The air show was outstanding, hitting 300 yards or more in every game on the year but the loss to Appalachian State and the 299-yard performance in the opening day loss to Charlotte. It’s not just all the yards; it’s the accuracy with the air show connecting on 63% of the passes on the year with 26 touchdowns and just 11 picks with one in the last three games.

    Players Who Matter

    He’s not quite Christian McCaffrey, but San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin is among the most dynamic and effective all-around backs in college football. The 5-10, 177-pound speedster is tough as nails, quick, and ultra-productive running for 1,469 yards and 13 scores, catching 44 passes for 337 yards and two scores, and averaging close to 24 yards as a kickoff returner. While he slowed down a bit as a runner, when he gets into a lather he can be dominant with a 300-yard rushing day against Fresno State and 263 yards against New Mexico. In his final game, expect 30+ carries.

    The Georgia State offense started to finally work once QB Nick Arbuckle came on from the JUCO ranks. He instantly provided a jolt last year winging the ball all over the yards, but he threw way too many interceptions to go along with 3,283 yards and 23 scores. This year he bombed away for 4,160 yards and 26 touchdowns while cutting down on the mistakes. It all kicked in over the second half of the season making the offense more vertical and more explosive with freshman Penny Hart and junior Robert Davis a part of the big play receiving corps.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    The Georgia State passing game will work, but San Jose State will be too good defensively in key moments to keep Arbuckle from going crazy. However, the defense that slowed down the high-powered Georgia Southern offense to become bowl eligible will swarm around Tyler Ervin with veteran tackling machine linebacker Joseph Peterson coming up with a huge final game. The energy will be there from both sides, but San Jose State’s defense will be just a wee bit more effective in key moments.

    AutoNation Cure Bowl Prediction

    Prediction: San Jose State 31, Georgia State 27, Line: San Jose State -3, o/u: 56
    Must See Rating: 5: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – 1: Property Brothers at Home on the Ranch … 3

    MORE: 10 Best College Football Bowl Games

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