MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Georgia Southern and Eastern Michigan have been selected to meet in the fifth annual Raycom Media Camellia Bowl at the historic Cramton Bowl.
The 2018 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl will be played on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 4:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN. The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl is one of five bowl games to air on ESPN networks on the opening day of the college football bowl season.
Tickets to the fifth annual Raycom Media Camellia Bowl are on sale at www.espnevents.com/camellia-bowl/tickets. Tickets are $30 for reserved seats and $20 for general admission seating.
Georgia Southern tied the school record for wins at the FBS level this season with nine. The Eagles also won nine games in 2014 and 2015. Eastern Michigan closed the season with three straight wins and posted the third-highest win total in school history.
“We are excited to have Georgia Southern and Eastern Michigan playing in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl,” Johnny Williams, executive director of the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl said. “Both teams have had tremendous seasons. We are looking forward to another outstanding college football game at the historic Cramton Bowl.”
The four previous Raycom Media Camellia Bowl games have been decided by 16 total points. Middle Tennessee defeated Arkansas State 35-30 in last year’s game. Bowling Green defeated South Alabama 33-28 in 2014, Appalachian State defeated Ohio 31-29 in 2015 and Appalachian State defeated Toledo 31-28 in 2016.
Georgia Southern (9-3, 6-2 Sun Belt) finished third in the Sun Belt Conference Eastern Division, behind league champion Appalachian State and co-division champion Troy. The Eagles have won nine games for the third time since moving to the FBS level in 2014.
“It’s an honor and a blessing to be able to play in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl,” said Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford. “A bowl game is hard to get to and it’s a reward for our players, staff and fans. We’ve had a great season, but to be able to have the opportunity to pick up a 10th win against a great opponent is something we won’t take lightly. I hope all of Eagle Nation will descend upon Montgomery as they did for our last bowl game and make it a special event for everyone involved.”
Georgia Southern is playing in just the second bowl game in school history. GSU defeated Bowling Green 58-27 in the 2015 GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Georgia Southern made the move from FCS to FBS in 2014. The Eagles were a powerhouse at the FCS level, winning six national championships in 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999 and 2000. They finished runner-up in 1988 and 1998. Georgia Southern won 10 Southern Conference championships at the FCS level, and the 2014 Sun Belt Conference championship in its first year at the FBS level.
“We’re extremely honored and excited to play in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl and would like to thank bowl executive director Johnny Williams and assistant executive director Will Pope for inviting us to play in their bowl,” said Tom Kleinlein, Georgia Southern Director of Athletics.
“This bowl opportunity is the result of the hard work by our players, Coach Lunsford and his staff, as well as the support from the University and our fans. Bowls are a chance to celebrate a great season and I feel confident that our fans will show up in Montgomery for this tremendous event.”
Eastern Michigan (7-5, 5-3 MAC) closed the season with three straight wins over Central Michigan, Akron and Kent State to secure its second winning season in the last three years under head coach Chris Creighton. The Eagles posted a 7-6 record in 2016. The Eagles did not have a winning season from 1996-2015.
“We are very excited to accept an invitation to play in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl,” said EMU Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee. “This will be our first trip to Montgomery and we are looking forward to a terrific bowl experience against a very fine Georgia Southern team. Playing in our second bowl game in the last three seasons is an excellent reward for our student-athletes, coaches, fans and everyone who has played a part in the success of our program.”
Eastern Michigan is playing in the third bowl game in school history, and second in the last three years. EMU lost to Old Dominion 24-20 in the 2016 Popeye’s Bahama’s Bowl. Eastern Michigan defeated San Jose State 30-27 in the 1987 California Bowl in Fresno.
“Eastern Michigan football is so fired up about our invitation to the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl,” said Creighton. “Our program has been working incredibly hard to make this possible and we are extremely grateful that the bowl selection committee said our name today!”
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