Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6) at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-5)
|Date & Time||Friday December 26, 2014, 1:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs -6 -- Over/Under: 57.5
The Illinois Fighting Illini and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs play Saturday in the Dallas Bowl at the Cotton Bowl.
The Illinois Fighting Illini have lost five of their last eight games and play in their first bowl since 2011. Reilly O'Toole is completing 58.7 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. O’Toole has four touchdowns and one pick in his last two games, and Illinois has 28 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Mike Dudek and Geronimo Allison have combined for more than 1,400 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns while Josh Ferguson has 11 receptions in his last three games. Illinois’ ground game is averaging 3.7 yards per carry, as Ferguson leads the way with 685 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Defensively, the Illinois Fighting Illini are allowing 33.9 points, 464.3 yards, and they’ve forced 21 sacks and 18 turnovers. Mason Monheim leads Illinois with 108 tackles and Earnest Thomas III has 9.5 tackles for loss.
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have split their last four games and play their first bowl since 2011. Cody Sokol is completing 58.6 percent of his passes for 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Sokol has four touchdowns and two picks in his last two games, and Louisiana Tech has 28 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson have combined for more than 1,200 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns while Paul Turner has eight receptions in his last two games. Louisiana Tech’s ground game is averaging 4.3 yards per carry, as Kenneth Dixon leads the way with 1,236 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Defensively, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 25.2 points, 355.7 yards, and they’ve forced 32 sacks and 25 turnovers. Kentrell Brice leads the Bulldogs with 80 tackles and Vernon Butler has 13 tackles for loss.
The Fighting Illini are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games following a ATS win. The Bulldogs are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
I'm a big fan of who teams play during the regular season, and I think it's safe to say that the Big Ten is far better than the C-USA. Illinois played its best football the last two weeks of the season and seems to be fighting for their head coach. Don't be surprised if the Fighting Illini win outright but the points here are nice.