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GoDaddy Bowl: Preview, Predictions, TV info

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

What: GoDaddy Bowl

Who: Arkansas State (7-5, 5-2 Sun Belt) vs. Ball State (10-2, 7-1 Mid-American)

When: Sunday, Jan. 5, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium (40,646), Mobile, Ala.

Opening Line: Ball State -9.5

What matters: Ball State enters the annual MAC-Sun Belt matchup as nearly a double-digit favorite after totaling 19 wins in the last two seasons. The Cardinals were in line to compete for a MAC title, but a mid-November loss to Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois kept them from claiming the MAC West. First-year Arkansas State coach Bryan Harsin picked up right where Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze left off, leading the Red Wolves to a winning record and third-straight GoDaddy Bowl appearance.

Who matters: Ball State led the MAC and rank No. 9 nationally in passing offense thanks to quarterback Keith Wenning (3,933 yards, 34 touchdowns, six interceptions) and wide receiver Willie Snead (1,429 yards, 14 touchdowns). Arkansas State has its own dynamic duo on offense with dual threat quarterback Adam Kennedy and sophomore wide receiver J.D. McKissic.

Matchup question: Is Ball State going to be haunted by another dual threat QB? Jordan Lynch tore through the Cardinals defense with 468 total yards of offense (345 passing, 123 rushing) in Northern Illinois' 48-27 win to claim control of the MAC West. Kennedy has not been as consistent or as productive as Lunch, but the matchup could be a way for Arkansas State, nearly a double-digit underdog, to take advantage.

Prediction: Ball State 38, Arkansas State 21

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