Ohio vs. Appalachian State Prediction, Camellia Bowl Preview

    Ohio vs. Appalachian State prediction and 2015 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl preview. Find out who's picked to win between the Bobcats and Mountaineers.

    December 14, 2015

    It’s the first bowl game for an Appalachian State (10-2) program used to playing in playoff games at the lower level, while Ohio (8-4) is here after finishing up the season on a hot three-game winning streak. Check out the Ohio vs. Appalachian State prediction and Raycom Media Camellia Bowl preview.


    Ohio vs. Appalachian State Game Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, December 19

    Game Time: 5:30 pm ET
    Network: ESPN
    Venue: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
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    Why You Need To Care

    Ohio has become used to life as a very good MAC team that can’t quite get over the hump, and under head coach Frank Solich it’s also used to being a part of the bowl picture going to five straight before being disrespected last year and not getting the call despite going 6-6. Just 2-6 all-time in bowls, the post-season is still a big deal and it still matters, especially after fighting hard late just to play some more football.

    The Bobcats bring a strong, balanced offense and a defense that rocked early, sputtered in the middle, and survived late. Starting out 5-1 with a should’ve-pulled-it-out loss to Minnesota as the only blemish, Ohio looked like a big-time player in the MAC world. And then the wheels came off losing three straight in brutal blowout fashion before turning things back around with a three-game winning streak. After all the drama and all the inconsistencies, a win would mean a third season of nine or more wins in five years.

    Appalachian State was a superpower FCS program that turned into a superpower Sun Belt team, but it wasn’t eligible to go bowling last year despite a solid 7-5 season. This year the team came back loaded, and it showed with the nation’s fifth-most efficient offense, sixth-best run defense, and 12th-best defense overall on the way to a ten-win season. The only losses came to Clemson – no shame there – and to an Arkansas State team that ripped through the Sun Belt unbeaten. Against everyone else the Mountaineers were effective, efficient and ultra-productive. That was all great, but the success will fall flat without a bowl win. Even though it’s the school’s first bowl, the program is used to the big game post-season atmosphere.

    Why Ohio Will Win

    The Bobcat run defense has been just good enough and should be just solid enough to force ASU to press a little bit. Ohio got destroyed on the ground against Western Michigan – allowing 430 yards and four scores – and it was ripped up over its ugly midseason losing streak allowing ten rushing scores. But it gave up more than 200 yards in just two games and was good enough throughout most of the year.

    How do you stop Appalachian State? Keep the offense off the field. Ohio is fantastic at hanging on to the ball keeping it for 32:27 per day, is outstanding defensively on third downs, and it’s solid in turnover margin. The Bobcats do most of the little things right and should be strong enough to not let the Mountaineers get into any sort of a groove.

    Why Appalachian State Will Win

    The Mountaineer offense revolves around Marcus Cox and the running game, but it’s the passing attack that turned the offense into a powerhouse.
    Last year’s O was solid through the air, but there’s more downfield production this season and more pop with 31 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Ohio has to start out focusing on Cox, and that opens up everything else for Taylor Lamb to hit the midrange throws for an attack that connects on 43% of its third down chances.

    What could be the difference is a close, tight battle? Missed opportunities. ASU is No. 1 in the nation in red zone defense with opponents scoring a paltry 63% of the time when getting inside the 20. Ohio’s offense is solid, but it’s a disaster in the red zone scoring just 77% of the time while ASU scores on 89% of its chances.

    Players Who Matter

    It’s America’s chance to finally get a long look at Marcus Cox, one of the nation’s most productive backs over the last two seasons. The ASU star tore off 1,415 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, and ripped up 1,261 yards and eight scores this year despite getting hurt late. He came back to destroy South Alabama in the regular season finale with 192 yards on just 14 carries for his seventh 100-yard running day on the year. Tough, versatile, and with just enough moves to avoid taking the big shot. Expect him to be a workhorse after getting weeks to rest up.

    It’s the end of the season, and Ohio doesn’t quite know who its starting quarterback is. Derrius Vick was hurt late in the year and had an ankle injury throughout the season, while J.D. Sprague has had shoulder problems before suffering an apparent concussion. They’re going to be ready to go, and ASU has to prepare for the all-around play of both of them. Sprague has been solid with seven touchdown passes and just one pick, while Vick is the veteran with two 300-yard games this year and ten scores, but with six interceptions.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Appalachian State is too balanced and too effective offensively. Ohio is sound defensively and should be able to keep this a fight throughout, but the Mountaineer defense will be better in key situations for a big win for the Sun Belt.

    Ohio vs. Appalachian State Prediction

    Final Score: Appalachian State 31, Ohio 23, Line: Appalachian State -9, o/u: 54
    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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