Cure Bowl – San Jose State Spartans (-2.5) versus Georgia State Panthers

Posted: December 18, 2015 in College football, Football
Tags: , , , ,

cure bowl

This is the first all-time meeting between these schools, first ever bowl game for Georgia State (joined FBS two years ago), and the inaugural Cure Bowl. This is just the third bowl game in the last 20 years for San Jose State (first since 2012). Both teams have first time bowl head coaches (Panther’s Trent Miles was 0-1 in the FCS playoffs).

San Jose State was one of three teams to earn a bowl bid despite a losing record. They entered the season as an improved club as they returned 16 starters, 10 on offense, including quarterback Joe Gray. Junior college signee Kenny Potter was in for spring, is a dual threat option, and eventually won the job, but suffered a sprained ankle against Oregon State. He missed two game, but returned versus UNLV and posted three 300 yard passing games and one 100 yard rushing game in the last seven. Tyler Ervin, maybe the best running back you’ve never heard of, had six games over 100 yards, including two over 200, finishing once with 300! The Spartans never won back-to-back games and finished the season losing three of four. San Jose State only allowed 154 passing yards per game (55.5%), but didn’t face many prolific passing offenses and are middle of the pack in terms of their pass defense.

Georgia State is far and away the most surprising team to make a bowl this season. They entered 2015 having never beaten an FBS team and had won just two games in three years and that included a season in the FCS! The Panthers did return 17 starters and it’s extremely ironic that head coach Miles had almost the exact kind of success in his third year at Indiana State that he had this season, with similar records the previous two years! Georgia State began the season 1-4 and then at 2-6, needed to win out to become bowl eligible. After winning three straight, they were a 21 point road ‘dog versus powerful rival Georgia Southern. The Panthers won outright by nearly four touchdowns and are one of the hottest lesser known teams in the country. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle finished the season with seven straight games over 300 yards, including two over 400 in that span!

With the closer proximity, Georgia State would figure to have a sizeable crowd edge, but they rarely got fans in their own venue. My guess is that this will be the smallest crowd of the bowl season. San Jose State is just 5-7, but will still be motivated even though a win will still give them a losing season. The key matchup is San Jose State’s average passing defense against Arbuckle, who has proven he can pass at will against weak pass defenses.

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