Watch the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech game time, TV schedule, live online streaming
Which surprise team will finish the year with a win?
Before this season, not many analysts predicted either of these two teams would be in a bowl game. Illinois and Louisiana Tech will square off in the Heart of Dallas Bowl Friday, with one taking home an important postseason victory.
Illinois head coach Tim Beckman entered the season on the hot seat after six wins in his first two seasons, but earned at least another year with the Illini’s 6-6 season. Four of the wins came against bowl teams: Western Kentucky, Texas State, Minnesota and Penn State. Illinois had two win their final two games against Penn State and at Northwestern to make the postseason, and they were able to do just that.
After a 4-8 debut season under Skip Holtz that saw the Bulldogs’ first losing season since 2010, it was hard to think too highly of Louisiana Tech coming into this season. They proved doubters wrong early, routing Sun Belt favorite Louisiana Lafayette in the second week of the season. A five-game winning streak, including victories over Western Kentucky and UTEP, got Tech bowl eligible, but they finished the season with a narrow loss to Marshall in the Conference USA title game.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: 1 p.m. ET
Online streaming: WatchESPN.
Rankings and records: Neither team is ranked. Louisiana Tech is 8-5, while Illinois is 6-6. The Bulldogs won the only previous matchup between the two schools, in 2012.
Vegas: Louisiana Tech opened as four-point favorites. The line has since moved to 6. The over/under is 60 points.
Weather forecast: High of 54, mostly cloudy with slight chance of rain.
Two things at stake
A win for Louisiana Tech would give them their first bowl victory since 2008.
A win for Illinois would give them their first winning season under Beckman.
One big matchup
Kenneth Dixon vs. Illinois front seven. The 5’10, 212-pound running back from Arkansas ran 240 times for 1,236 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, catching five more scoring TDs. He’s a major offensive threat for Louisiana Tech, and Illinois will have to keep track of him in order to keep this one close. The Illini have allowed 5.1 yards per rush this season.