Date: Dec. 19, Noon ET on CBSSN
Location: Orlando | Orlando Citrus Bowl
San Jose State Spartans
Best moment: A 31-21 win over New Mexico. It was the Spartans’ only win over an FBS team that finished the regular season with a winning record. Senior running back Tyler Ervin had a huge game (one of a handful this season) for San Jose State, rushing for 263 yards at 7.3 yards per carry. It was also quarterback Kenny Potter’s best performance of the season. The junior completed 16 of 20 passes for two touchdowns and 181 yards, garnering him his top passer rating of the season (against an FBS team).
Lowest moment: The first two weekends of November. The Spartans came close to beating BYU and Nevada in back-to-back weekends but couldn’t finish. If the Spartans had converted on their two-point conversion against BYU and closed out better in overtime against Nevada, this would have been a very, very different season. Instead, those two games just raised more questions about why San Jose State isn’t closing out close games in coach Ron Caragher’s third year.
Key player: Ervin. The senior was second in the Mountain West in total rushing yards (1,469) and third in rushing touchdowns (13). Most impressively, only 48 of Ervin’s 264 rushes didn’t go for positive yardage.
Motivation level: High. The 5-7 Spartans were on the cusp of not even getting into a bowl and only got into the postseason because there weren’t enough six-win teams to fill all the spots. That said, expect San Jose State to play like it belongs and attempt to finish a rather lackluster season on a high note.
-- Chantel Jennings
Georgia State Panthers
Best moment: At one point in early November, Georgia State was 2-6 and the chances of playing in a bowl game were slim to none. But the Panthers ripped off four straight wins, capped off by a 34-7 victory over rival Georgia Southern on Saturday to become bowl eligible for the first time in school history. It was a monumental win for the program.
Lowest moment: The season got off to a rocky start for Georgia State with a home loss to Charlotte. After falling behind 20-3 in the first half, the Panthers fought back but still came up short. The loss looked worse and worse as Charlotte -- which finished 2-10 this season -- kept losing games. The 49ers' only other win this season was against Presbyterian College.
Key player: Quarterback Nick Arbuckle is one of just seven quarterbacks in the FBS to throw for more than 4,000 yards this season. The senior led the Sun Belt with 4,160 passing yards and was second in the conference with 26 touchdown passes. And he comes into the bowl game on fire, having thrown 10 touchdowns to just three interceptions over his last four games.
Motivation level: This will be the first bowl game in the program’s history. How’s that for motivation? The Panthers will be geared up and ready to go. They’re just happy to still be playing.
-- Greg Ostendorf