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Georgia Southern, Buffalo both chase winning record in bowl

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Georgia Southern (6-6, Sun Belt) vs Buffalo (6-6, Mid-American), Dec. 27, noon EST (ESPN)

FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK COLLEGE LINE: Georgia Southern by 4 1/2.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Simply put, the winner gets to finish with a winning record. They both battled their way into the postseason with down-to-the-wire victories to end the regular season and snap three-game losing streaks. Buffalo rebounded from an 0-3 start. Georgia Southern became bowl eligible with a 51-48 double-overtime victory over Appalachian State in the regular-season finale. The Bulls beat Akron 23-22. The Eagles are cunder first-year coach Clay Helton is in his first year of coaching the Eagles, and previously was at USC. Buffalo is led by second-year coach Maurice Linguist.

KEY MATCHUP

Led by former Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease, Georgia Southern is averaging 328 yards a game passing with 26 touchdowns. The Bulls, meanwhile, are holding opponents to 216 yards a game through the air. Buffalo safety Marcus Fuqua leads the nation with seven interceptions, including a three-pick game against Toledo and two in the last game against Akron. He’s a third-team AP All-American.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Georgia Southern: Vantrease has passed for 3,901 yards and 25 touchdowns, with 15 interceptions. Vantrease had 578 passing yards against James Madison. He started 25 games in four seasons at Buffalo, leading the Bulls to a 2020 Camellia Bowl win over Marshall.

Buffalo: LB Shaun Dolac is a first-team All-MAC selection after racking up 134 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 12.5 TFLs, two forced fumbles and seven pass breakups. He leads the nation with 90 solo tackles, a single-season school record.

FACTS & FIGURES

Georgia Southern beat Nebraska 45-42 on Sept. 10. … The Eagles are 4-1 against current MAC teams and Buffalo is 0-3 against Sun Belt teams. … Georgia Southern’s Marques Watson-Trent had only eight tackles in his first two seasons, largely because of a season-ending knee injury in the 2021 opener. Now, he leads the Eagles with 105 tackles, including five games in double digits. … Buffalo quarterback Cole Snyder needs 235 passing yards to join Drew Willy (2008) and Tyree Jackson (2018) as the only Bulls QBs to reach 3,000 yards in a season. … Buffalo kicker Alex McNulty needs two field goals to match Adam Mitcheson school career record of 48 set from 2015-18.

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