South Alabama gets home field advantage against Eastern Michigan in 68 Ventures Bowl

Fri, Dec 22, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)

South Alabama gets home field advantage against Eastern Michigan in 68 Ventures Bowl

South Alabama (6-6, Sun Belt) vs. Eastern Michigan (6-6, Mid-American Conference), Dec. 23, 7 p.m. ET

Line: South Alabama by 16 1/2, according to FanDuel.com Sportsbook.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

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South Alabama is seeking its first bowl win in four tries, while Eastern Michigan hopes to improve on its 2-4 bowl record. Eastern Michigan became bowl eligible with victories in its last two games, winning in double overtime against Akron and 24-11 over Buffalo. Both teams need a victory to finish with a winning record. For South Alabama, that would mean back-to-back winning marks for the first time as a full Division I participant.

KEY MATCHUP

Eastern Michigan's struggling offense against South Alabama's defense. The Eagles rank ninth in the MAC in scoring (20.3 points per game) and 11th in total yards, averaging just 273.6. Led by All-Sun Belt first-team defensive back Jaden Voisin, South Alabama has one of the league's top defenses. The Jaguars are third in scoring defense (21.9 ppg) and second in total defense (326.4 ypg).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

South Alabama: WR Caullin Lacy has 91 catches for 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns. Lacy has eight 100-yard receiving games this season, including a streak of seven straight at one point. Eastern Michigan: LB Chase Kline has 143 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and a pair of forced fumbles. He's a Michigan State transfer.

FACTS AND FIGURES

The game will be played on South Alabama's home field at Hancock Whitney Stadium. ... Eastern Michigan is playing in a third consecutive bowl game for the first time in program history. ... South Alabama is 0-3 in bowl games, making the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time. ... The Jaguars earned their second Power Five win in program history, beating No. 22 Oklahoma State, 33-7. ... Eastern Michigan has one of the MAC's best punters in two-time all-conference first-teamer Mitchell Tomasek. ... The Eagles played in Mobile's bowl game in 2021, losing 56-20 to Liberty.

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