The Illinois Fighting Illini are hoping to finish their season with a winning record as they face the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Memphis beats BYU – Memphis prevails over BYU, 55-48, in double overtime
Bowling Green beats South Alabama – Bowling Green defeats South Alabama, 33-28
Air Force beats Western Michigan – Air Force defeats Western Michigan, 38-24
Illinois won their last two games to improve their record to 6-6 and gain bowl eligibility, and they will face Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The Fighting Illini ended their regular season with a 47-33 victory over Northwestern. Quarterback Reilly O’Toole performed brilliantly with 147 yards and three touchdown passes against one interception on 17-of-28 passing.
The quarterback also led the team in rushing with 147 yards on 21 carries, and running back Josh Ferguson ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech is entering the bowl game with an 8-5 record after a 26-23 loss to Marshall in the Conference USA Championship.
The Bulldogs held the lead for most of the game, but Marshall scored the game-winning touchdown with just under two minutes remaining.
Quarterback Cody Sokol performed dreadfully as he was held to 72 yards on 7-of-20 passing, and he threw the game-ending interception on the first play of Louisiana Tech’s final drive.
Running back Kenneth Dixon will be a challenge for the Fighting Illini to stop though. He ran for 156 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
This will be a problem for an Illinois run defense that ranks 123rd in the country with 249.6 yards per game.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech 31, Illinois 17