WKU vs. Georgia State: AutoNation Cure Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

WKU vs. Georgia State: AutoNation Cure Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

WKU

WKU vs. Georgia State: AutoNation Cure Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the AutoNation Cure Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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AutoNation Cure Bowl
WKU (6-6) vs. Georgia State (6-5)

Broadcast

Date: Saturday, Dec. 16
Game Time: 2:30 pm
Venue: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Network: CBS Sports Network

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
39 out of 39

2017-2018 CFN Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The AutoNation Cure Bowl

– You don’t think Georgia State won’t bring the effort? This a relatively new football program that went bowling in 2015 – losing to San Jose State in the Cure Bowl – but has yet to experience a winning season.

In the first season under new head man Shawn Elliott, the Panthers entered a new stadium with a new attitude and hope to turn this into the star of the Sun Belt. After one year, they appear to be on the right track.

The Hilltoppers don’t play boring bowl games. Just WKU’s fifth-ever bowl, they’ve all been good. They won a 51-31 shootout over Memphis in last year’s Boca Raton, beat USF 45-35 in your 2015 Miami Beach Bowl, and  in one of the all-time greats, they took down Central Michigan 49-48 in the 2014 Bahamas. 3-1, the blemish was a 34-21 loss to Central Michigan in the 2012 Little Caesars.

Oh yes, there will be passing. These two don’t do a whole lot right, but WKU led Conference USA in passing, and Georgia State – when it wants to – will unleash the air attack to try getting things moving. It’ll be up to WKU to bust this out of a defensive fight, and it might just be able to do that.

Here’s Why WKU Will Win The AutoNation Cure Bowl

Georgia State doesn’t really score. It’s been pulling teeth for the Panthers to put up points at times, scoring ten points or fewer in five of the 12 games. It’s not necessarily a balanced offense, more often than not relying on mistakes and opportunities to make things happen. There’s a chance WKU simply outbombs its way to a win.

– The Panthers don’t bring the pressure. The WKU offensive line is having a nightmare of a season in pass protection. Fortunately, Georgia State doesn’t do a whole lot to get behind the line. The four sacks against Idaho to close things out, and the seven sacks against ULM were fantastic – and the Panthers came up with a total of seven sacks in the nine other games.

WKU QB Mike White. For all of WKU’s problems and issues this season, White has been the steadying, veteran force. Even without the weapons he enjoyed last year, the 6-4, 225-pound senior threw for 3,826 yards and 24 touchdowns and seven picks with six rushing touchdowns. He threw for 300 yard or more in the last seven games with 22 scores during the stretch.

Here’s Why Georgia State Will Win The AutoNation Cure Bowl

There’s NO WKU running game. It’s all Mike White and it’s all about the Hilltoppers passing game. WKU hasn’t hit the 100-yard mark in any of its last six games, and it was only remotely close once. The Georgia State secondary isn’t anything special, but the run defense rarely gets gouged. If White isn’t great, WKU doesn’t win.

Georgia State can throw, too. Veteran Conner Manning can more than keep up the pace. He might not be a 300-yard machine like White is, but he hasn’t had to be. His key is limiting the mistakes and relying on the defense to take care of the rest. Outside of the three picks thrown against Penn State, he’s thrown just four picks over the other 11 games. And he has …

Penny Hart. WKU doesn’t have one of these. The 5-8, 180-pound Georgia State star receiver caught 73 passes for 1,094 yards and eight scores, is a dangerous kick returner, and can run a little, too. When he’s on, forget it – Georgia State is 4-0 this year when he hits the 100-yard mark.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The AutoNation Cure Bowl

This had better be good in a hurry. With the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Troy vs. North Texas) already underway, and the Las Vegas Bowl (Boise State vs. Oregon) coming up halfway through the first half of this, this had better captivate the audience from the start. Being on CBS Sports Network isn’t going to help the cause.

The two teams are going to bring the energy and the effort, and that’s all you really want. Last year, oddly enough, UCF just didn’t show up under Scott Frost in the blowout loss to Arkansas State. That won’t be a problem under first-year coaching staffs who’ll have their teams ready to roll.

WKU can come back on Georgia State, but Georgia State probably can’t come back on WKU. However, the Hilltoppers don’t really know how to win lately. The win over Middle Tennessee is good, and that’s it. Losing four of the last five games isn’t a plus. On the other side, Georgia State has beaten absolutely nobody – South Alabama might be the best victory.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The AutoNation Cure Bowl?

WKU has a better passing game and has just enough talent to get through this as long as it doesn’t start screwing up. The Hilltoppers are better at moving the chains, and Georgia State isn’t careful enough with the ball to get this done.

It’ll be a stunningly entertaining game that will go into the fourth quarter, but White will be too sharp just when the Panthers need a stop.

Final Score

WKU 31, Georgia State 17
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets

Line

WKU -6, o/u: 51.5

ATS Confidence: 4
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 2
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

AutoNation Cure Bowl History, Results

Dec. 17, 2016 Arkansas State 31, UCF 13
Dec. 19, 2015 San Jose State 27 Georgia State 16

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