Wednesday, two teams undergoing coaching changes and capable of gaudy point totals meet when the Georgia Southern Eagles face the Bowling Green Falcons in the GoDaddy Bowl.
The Eagles love running the football, to say the least, and create a great contrast to the Falcons' high-flying ways. Though Georgia Southern lost head coach Willie Fritz, one of the nation's premier rushing attacks doesn't figure to slow down.
Neither do the Falcons, the MAC champions led by quarterback Matt Johnson and interim head coach Brian Ward.
Below, let's take a look at everything to know surrounding what might be bowl season's most explosive matchup.
When: Wednesday, December 23, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Spread: Bowling Green (-7.5)
Team Injury Reports
|Roscoe Byrd||OL||Ques Wed|
|Source: USA Today|
|Mike Minns||DL||Out Wed|
|Donovan Wilson||RB||Ques Wed|
|Christian Piazza||OL||Out for season|
|Anthony Farinella||K||Out indefinitely|
|Gus Schwieterman||DL||Out for season|
|Source: USA Today|
Injury reports courtesy of USA Today.
Predictable and Proud
The Eagles don't make any attempt to hide what they want to do on offense, nor can most stop it regardless.
They've attempted all of 129 passes this year, and two quarterbacks have combined to not even reach the 1,000-yard mark. Why pass? The offense leads the nation with its 4,267 rushing yards and 6.5 yards-per-carry average. While not leading the nation, the 47 rushing scores are pretty impressive, too.
A look at the main contributors grabs the eye and holds it:
It's not hard to figure out just how potent the attack can be. Back in November, the Eagles gave the nine-win Georgia Bulldogs out of the SEC all they could handle in an eventual 23-17 overtime loss.
There, the Eagles rushed for 233 yards and a touchdown before allowing the winning score in the extra frame.
It's also not hard to figure out the attack's biggest weakness. Take the team's season-ending loss to Georgia State in 34-7 fashion, where the Eagles mustered just 135 rushing yards and had to leave their comfort zone by taking to the air to keep up with a high-powered opponent.
Bowling Green provides much in the way of a similar challenge, so Georgia Southern will have to show it has fixed this issue while undergoing a coaching change against the Falcons.
There isn't much the Falcons do wrong on offense.
Johnson's one of the nation's best quarterbacks, having completed 68.8 percent of his passes this year with 4,700 yards and 43 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Given his talent, four of his targets have 56 or more catches, with wide receiver Roger Lewis leading the team with 82 catches, 1,476 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Bowling Green isn't as predictable, though. Thank star running back Travis Greene, who averages 5.7 yards per carry with his 1,220 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
While some might consider the bowl game and a coaching change a damper on what was an outstanding season, Ward suggested otherwise, according to ESPN.com:
This is an opportunity for our team to win an 11th game, finish the season being ranked. There are still a lot of goals out there. And having those goals and fulfilling those goals -- this is a team that set out to win the MAC East, they set out to win the MAC, they set out to win a bowl game. ... We win a bowl game, we have an opportunity to finish the season ranked in the Top 25, which makes this a significant year in (Bowling Green) football history.
To make good on Ward's points, the Falcons will have to avoid the odd letdown game the team experienced twice. One came in September in an odd loss to Memphis, and the other came just three games ago in a 44-28 whipping at the hands of Toledo.
Granted, Bowling Green powered through the adversity with 48-10 and 34-14 wins against Ball State and Northern Illinois, respectively, to get here. If the Falcons aren't careful, though, Georgia Southern has the look of one of those rare teams capable of matching them blow for blow.
Barring a laid egg of gargantuan proportions, the Falcons should come out on top of this one in line with what Las Vegas expects.
In the Sun Belt, Georgia Southern doesn't deal with the quality of competition Bowling Green does, hence a 44-0 drubbing at the hands of West Virginia or the aforementioned loss to a high-octane Georgia State offense.
Bowling Green does everything Georgia State does better, and the Eagles won't have the defense to slow the multifaceted attack. Look for the Falcons to pull ahead and force the Eagles to the air, further widening the gap.
Prediction: Falcons 45, Eagles 35