Georgia South vs Buffalo Odds
The Georgia Southern Eagles and Buffalo Bulls will play in the 2022 Camellia Bowl today at noon ET in Montgomery, AL.
However, we’ll call it “The Vantrease Bowl” after Kyle Vantrease, the veteran quarterback from Buffalo who was traded this offseason and now runs this dynamic Georgia Southern offense.
Vantrease threw for 25 touchdowns during his time with the Bulls, a number he matched during his only regular season as a signalman in Statesboro. He’ll be looking to add to that total against his old team, which ranks 98th in SP+ defensive this season.
That rating is actually significantly higher than Georgia Southern’s own porous unit, so this game has all the makings of a high-scoring affair. Should you play the total or is there a better angle to find in this game?
Maurice Linguist’s second year in charge of Buffalo got off to an inauspicious start, as the Bulls lost their first three games of 2022, including a last-second loss to FCS Holy Cross. But he righted the ship in league play, winning their next five games.
After a late-season blackout cut their record to 5-6, they needed to beat lowly Akron in the final, rescheduled for conference championship weekend, to earn bowl eligibility. The Bulls did so in unimpressive fashion, falling 16-0 and needing a late rally to beat the Zips.
The Bulls’ offense, ranked 93rd in SP+, is led by quarterback Cole Snyder, a transfer drop off the Rutgers depth chart. Snyder started all 12 regular season games; he completed 59.2% of his passes for 2,765 yards, along with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
It’s hard to find one area in which Buffalo’s offense excels, since it’s near the bottom of FBS in most rushing metrics. By passing the metrics, it’s more middle of the pack. (55th in successful passes, 77th in explosive passes).
Buffalo’s games are unpredictable and prone to big plays and havoc. The Bulls offense is one of the worst in the country at havoc prevention. On the other side of the ball, they are one of the best defenses in the country for generating Havoc.
Security Marcus Fuqua is a star; he led the nation in interceptions with seven, earning him third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press. Fuqua is a one-man Havoc machine.
The takeaways are critical for the Bulls’ defense because it’s not a particularly efficient unit. In particular, he’s had trouble defending the pass, ranking in the top 90 in FBS avoiding both the explosives and the pass-success rate.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Clay Helton in Statesboro, a “Year 0” affair, as he discarded decades of triple-option tradition to transition to a modern, extended RPO offense.
There’s even an example in the state at a Power Five school of how long and tedious that process can be. Instead, the Eagles’ offense was dynamic all season, ranked 38th in SP+, serving as the only truly good unit in this game. And they won a bowl game in Helton’s first campaign.
The offense is led by Vantrease, Buffalo’s longtime starter. After five seasons with the Bulls, the Ginger General transferred to Georgia Southern and had a wonderful season, completing 61.4% of his passes for 3,901 yards along with 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Vantrease is an excellent point guard, distributing the ball to playmakers like running backs Jalen White and Gerald Green, and his quartet of dynamic receivers in Khaleb Hood, Amare Jones, Derwin Burgess and Jeremy Singleton.
Jones and Burgess missed for the season in November, but that didn’t stop Georgia Southern from hanging 52 points on arch-rival Appalachian State in the finals for a sixth win and bowl berth.
In fact, the only two teams to keep Georgia Southern under 20 points were Marshall and Louisiana, two excellent pass defenses that were ranked in the top 10 in FFP coverage rating as a whole.
Buffalo’s secondary, despite Fuqua’s ballhawk skills, is nowhere near that level, ranking 93rd.
The biggest mismatch in this matter will be Georgia Southern’s ability to move the ball down the field with the high-percentage passing game. The Eagles rank 19th in FBS in passing success rate, while the Bulls rank 95th in allowed success rate against the pass.
Georgia Southern will need to control the ball and find the end zone frequently because their defense has had a terrible, horrible, not good and very bad year.
The Eagles are ranked 124th in defensive SP+ and are near the bottom in almost every division. They also won’t have their best defender, cornerback Derrick Canteen, who opted not to enter the transfer portal.
Analysis of confrontation between Georgia Southern and Buffalo
Toggle the dropdown menus below to hide or show how Buffalo and Georgia Southern match statistically:
Georgia South Offense vs Buffalo Defense
Buffalo Offense vs Georgia South Defense
Game Pace / Other
|Special equipment SP+||39||82|
|seconds per move||26.0 (52)||22.0 (9)|
|rush rate||53.9% (66)||38.3% (129)|
Given CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), SoccerOutsiders, SP+, professional soccer focus Y SportSource analysis.
Georgia Southern vs Buffalo Prediction, Picks
Both teams entered November with a 5-3 record, then lost three in a row and needed a close victory in the finals to earn a postseason berth.
But Georgia Southern’s streak was schedule-related: It fell to three bowl teams (Marshall, South Alabama, Louisiana), which coincidentally were the three toughest pass defenses on the schedule. The Eagles then won a dramatic game over arch rival and preseason conference favorite App State.
Buffalo was boring in November; two of their losses came against non-bowl teams at Kent State and Central Michigan. Also, they suffered a huge loss to Ohio. It also barely made it past the rebuild of 2-10 Akron.
Buffalo’s greatest strength is its Havoc creation on defense, where it ranks 10th in the country. Unfortunately for the Bulls, that’s nullified by the Georgia Southern offense, which ranks second overall in Havoc prevention.
While Vantrease might throw an interception or two, the team does a great job protecting the ball, avoiding sacks, and staying ahead of the crossbars.
Georgia Southern’s advantage is their efficient passing game. Buffalo hasn’t shown much skill in preventing teams from moving the ball through the air.
I’ll take Vantrease against his old team and put the points up with Georgia Southern, who have an energized fan base close to home. I’ll take the Eagles at -4.5 and play at -6.
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