This year’s Heart of Dallas Bowl offers some feel good stories heading into the holiday season as the surprising, yet 4 point underdog Illinois Fighting Illini and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs enter the Heart of Dallas Bowl looking to cap off strong conclusions to the regular season with a Bowl win.
Not many people, present company included, predicted that the Illinois Fighting Illini would be invited to a bowl game just a month ago as they were just 4-6 heading into the final two-game stretch of the year. However, they overcame all odds and produced their first bowl berth under head-coach Tim Beckman.
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs had an easier road to the 2014 College Bowl season, as a five-game win streak in the middle of the season gave them an early edge.
Analyzing My Heart of Dallas Bowl Against The Spread Pick
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Illinois Illini vs Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Date: Dec. 26, 2014
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: Dallas, Texas
Stadium: Cotton Bowl
TV Info: ESPN
Stream Info: WatchESPN.com
Radio: Illinois Vs Louisiana Tech
Point Spread: Bulldogs -6
Game Total: 62
Illinois Will Win the Heart of Dallas Bowl If
The Fighting Irish get some competent play at quarterback!
The Fighting Illini reached six wins to become bowl game eligible, but this is a team with a bunch of holes – and not nearly enough duct tape to cover them. Still, it all starts for Illinois at quarterback. Senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole has been mediocre at best this season in tossing nine touchdown passes and seven interceptions.
While O’Toole has thrown four touchdown passes and just one interception over his last two starts, he did toss five TD passes and six picks over his previous seven starts while leading the Fighting Illini to a dismal 1-5 SU mark over the span.
Louisiana Tech Will Win the Heart of Dallas Bowl If
They score at least 30 points and avoid the costly turnover!
If Louisiana Tech scores at least 30 points, they should easily win and cover the spread. Illinois has given up at least 30 points in every loss this season and the Bulldogs have reached that figure five times in their last eight games.
The good news for the Bulldogs is the fact that they have a very talented quarterback in Cody Sokol. The senior signal-caller has thrown 19 touchdowns passes over his last eight games, but there is one area of major concern – and that’s the fact that Sokol has tossed at least one pick in five straight games while going just two games all season without an interception.
Who Will Win the Heart of Dallas Bowl?
On paper, this bowl game pairing looks more like a mismatch than a matchup between two evenly matched teams and I believe Louisiana Tech is going to put a hurting on their ‘bigger name’ opponents in this one.
Louisiana Tech topped the 50 points plateau three times this season and hung a jaw-dropping 76 points on Rice on Nov. 29. The Fighting Illini just doesn’t have that kind of offensive firepower – nor do they have a very good defense. Louisiana Tech pounded the snot out of Illinois 52-24 the last time these two teams met in 2012 and I’m expecting another sound spanking for the Fighting Illini in this one.