Raycom Media Camellia Bowl 2017 preview, prediction, live stream

Ja'Von Rolland Jones and Arkansas State meet Middle Tennessee State in the 2017 Camellia Bowl on Saturday in Montgomery

Kudos to Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson for leading the Red Wolves to their fourth bowl appearance in the four years with Anderson at the helm.

Is the betting total for Saturday night's Raycom Media Camellia Bowl between Middle Tennessee State and Arkansas State set too high? Arkansas State (7-4) and Middle Tennessee (6-6) will lace up their cleats and hit the gridiron against one another for the first time since 2012.

Middle Tennessee finished its season with a 41-10 win over Old Dominion and had a season highlight win over Syracuse. The site of the game is less than 300 miles from Middle Tennessee State's campus at Murfreesboro, Tenn. "Johnny Williams, there's not a better executive director in the country that understands the administration, fans, players, coaches, and what it takes to mobilize a whole group of people to come down here, so we're real excited about that". "We have to", Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill said. It's hard.' And I understand that.

The last time Middle Tennessee State faced a defense as disruptive - Marshall (6.8 tackles for loss, 2.25 sacks) - the Blue Raiders lost 38-10 while surrendering six sacks and eight tackles for loss. They were one of only two teams from the conference to secure a win against a Power Five team when they upset Syracuse 30-23 on September 2.

With more teams eligible to play in bowl games than there were invitations to hand out, three 6-6 squads were forced to sit home for the holidays. Stockstill will have a big day passing, West will find some running lanes for another 100-yard day, and Middle Tennessee will prove itself deserving of a bowl invitation. "What we accomplished this year with everything we've gone through, from who we played to the injury situation to a couple of close losses, I'm just so happy and proud of this team". Middle Tennessee players have missed a combined 125 games due to injury, including Stockstill and top receiver Richie James. Altogether, Arkansas Sate is 3-3 in bowl games over the last six seasons.

What an up-and-down season for the Blue Raiders, marred by injury to their starting quarterback, junior Brent Stockstill. Junior quarterback Justice Hansen, the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, has completed almost 64 percent of his passes for 3,630 yards (12th in the country) and a Sun Belt single-season record 34 touchdowns. Arkansas State is playing in its seventh consecutive bowl and eighth overall.

ASU coach Blake Anderson was an MTSU assistant from 2002-04, handling receivers and serving as co-offensive coordinator his final two seasons.

Anderson is the first head coach in Arkansas State history to win 31 or more games over his first four seasons at the school.

"The kids deserved some continuity and stability in general", Anderson said in regard to Harsin, Malzahn and Freeze having a short stay at Arkansas State. The Red Wolves had five players earn all-Sun Belt first-team honors, including Sun Belt player of the year in linebacker Ja'Von Rolland-Jones and offensive player of the year in quarterback Justice Hansen. The former Sun Belt rivals square off in Saturday's Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.

Rolland-Jones is second in the nation with 1.18 sacks per game.

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