The Buffalo Bulls were the final team to earn bowl eligibility without the need for a waiver.
On Friday afternoon, Buffalo utilized a game-winning touchdown reception by Quian Williams and a sealing interception by Marcus Fuqua in the final two minutes to slide past Akron, 23-22. Moving to 6-6 on the season, the Bulls locked up their first bowl bid under second-year head coach Maurice Linguist.
Their postseason destination will be Montgomery, AL for the Camellia Bowl, as revealed Sunday afternoon by The Action Network breaking news reporter Brett McMurphy. In the matchup, Buffalo (6-6, 5-3 MAC) will face Georgia Southern (6-6, 3-5 Sun Belt) on Dec. 27.
Both teams followed similar trajectories in their path to clinching bowl eligibility. The Bulls and Eagles each started 5-3, rode similar three-game losing streaks, and narrowly won their final matchups to punch a ticket to the postseason. This will be the first-ever matchup between the programs.
Georgia Southern’s quarterback is Kyle Vantrease, who served as Buffalo’s starter from 2019-21 and guided the Bulls to each of their two bowl wins in program history (2019 Bahamas, 2020 Camellia). Vantrease, who will play in his final collegiate game in Montgomery, currently ranks fifth in the FBS in passing. He is set to challenge many of his longtime Buffalo teammates on the defensive side of the ball, including inside linebacker James Patterson and free safety Marcus Fuqua.
This marks Buffalo’s second Camellia Bowl appearance. The Bulls’ most recent bowl appearance in 2020 was also in the Camellia Bowl. On Christmas Day that season, they outlasted Marshall in 17-10 fashion to claim their second consecutive bowl win and finish the season with an AP ranking of No. 25. Buffalo’s two-game bowl win streak remains in tact heading into this contest on Dec. 27 — the first Camellia Bowl played outside of Christmas Day since 2019.
Georgia Southern is also making its second Camellia Bowl appearance. The Eagles emerged victorious over a MAC opponent in the 2018 matchup on a 40-yard field goal by Tyler Bass as time expired. Georgia Southern is 3-1 all-time in bowl games and 2-0 against the MAC.
The game is set to kick off in the Cramton Bowl located in Montgomery at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.