Georgia State and Western Kentucky had strong finishes yo their respective regular seasons and Saturday, when they meet in the LendingTree Bowl it will be a rematch of the 2017 Cure Bowl. The Panthers won that 2017 meeting 27-17, but a lot has changed for the Hilltoppers since then. The program is now in its second season under Tyson Helton and in the midst of a three-game winning streak after a disappointing 2-6 start to the season.
A win would even the team's record at 6-6 and keep some of the momentum from last year's 9-4 season alive as Helton enters his third year. Georgia State's 2020 season did not feature any landmark upsets like the 2019 team's win at Tennessee, but the Panthers nearly beat Sun Belt stalwarts Louisiana and Appalachian State. Despite losing those two games by a combined seven points and dropping another thriller to Arkansas State, the Panthers enter the bowl game with a 5-4 record.
The 2017 Cure Bowl win over WKU secured a winning season for Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott in his first season on the job. Another bowl win over the Hilltoppers would assure him his third winning season.
Western Kentucky: Starting quarterback Tyrell Pigrome has not thrown an interception this season, but that's been about the only impressive statistic with this Hilltoppers offense. WKU's average of just 291 yards per game ranks 120th among the 127 teams at the FBS level, but give the Hilltoppers credit for winning three straight games and scoring a combined 75 points in their last two victories over FIU and Charlotte. The WKU defense, led by senior defensive end and first-team all-conference selection DeAngelo Maleone, has been solid most of the year.
Georgia State The Panthers have given up a lot of points at times this season, but have shown the ability to score them, too. Running backs Destin Coates and Tucker Gregg combined for nearly 1,100 yards rushing in just nine games during the regular season, while receiver Sam Pinckney earned second-team all-conference honors for corralling 44 passes for 753 yards and six touchdowns. Despite allowing 284.3 yards passing per game, the Panthers defense intercepted 10 passes in the shortened regular season. Second-team all-conference cornerbacks Antavious Lane and Quavian White each picked off three passes.
Game: LendingTree Bowl
Date: Saturday, Dec. 26 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ladd-Peebles Stadium -- Mobile, Alabama
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
LendingTree Bowl prediction, picks
The Hilltoppers have won three in a row, but those victories came against teams with a combined five victories this year. In fact, WKU did not beat a team with a winning record this season. Georgia State is coming off a 30-24 win over a 7-5 Georgia Southern team and simply has too much firepower for Western Kentucky to handle. Pick: Georgia State -3.5 | Georgia State 30, Western Kentucky 24
So who wins Georgia State vs. Western Kentucky? And which side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State spread to back, all from the advanced model on a 55-35 run on its top-rated college football picks this season.