Last New Year’s Eve, the Ball State Cardinals made history. For the first time ever, the program took home postseason hardware after defeating Mountain West champion San Jose State in the 2020 Arizona Bowl.
Now, the Cardinals look to make it back-to-back bowl victories under head coach Mike Neu. Ball State will head to Montgomery, AL for the 2021 TaxAct Camellia Bowl. Lining up on the other sideline is Georgia State in the lone Christmas Day bowl matchup.
Ball State (6-6, 4-4 MAC) is bowling in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2012-13. This will mark the Cardinals’ first appearance in the Camellia Bowl, which was established in 2014. Last Christmas, Buffalo became the second MAC team to win the event, joining 2014 Bowling Green.
Georgia State (7-5, 6-2 Sun Belt) will also make its first trip in program history to the Camellia Bowl. Despite joining the FBS in 2013, the Panthers already have two bowl wins under their belt including a 2020 LendingTree Bowl victory over WKU.
Both programs overcame slow starts to attain bowl eligibility. Ball State started 1-3 in non-conference play before winning four of five in a resurgent midseason stretch. Georgia State launched its campaign with a 1-4 record but rebounded to win six of its final seven.
The Camellia Bowl will signify the third meeting between Ball State and Georgia State. The Cardinals and Panthers squared off in 2015 and 2016, splitting the series with one win apiece. This year’s Camellia Bowl matchup transpires at the 25,000-seat Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, AL and will be broadcast at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.