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Illinois to play Louisiana Tech in Heart of Dallas Bowl

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The Fighting Illini will head to Dallas for their first bowl game since 2011.

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Illinois will travel to the Lone Star State to play Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 26 at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium, reports ESPN's Brett McMurphy.

Kickoff for the game is set for noon with the game televised by ESPN for the first-time after the first four contests were shown on ESPNU.

Coach Tim Beckman's Fighting Illini finished the regular season with a 6-6 record after a 47-33 win over state rival Northwestern. Illinois' bowl dreams looked crushed following a 38-27 loss to Purdue at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 4, but they won three of their last six, including wins over bowl bound Minnesota and Penn State to become bowl-eligible.

The Fighting Illini came away victorious in their last two bowl games - 38-14 over Baylor in the Texas Bowl and 20-14 over UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl - in 2010 and 2011.

Coach Skip Holtz's Bulldogs finished the regular season with an 8-4 record and earned a spot in the Conference USA Championship game after posting a 7-1 record in league play. Louisana Tech led for the majority of the C-USA title game against Marshall before falling 26-23 when the Thundering Herd scored in the final two minutes.

The Bulldogs have played in six bowl games in their program's history with the most recent appearance against TCU in the 2011 Poinsettia Bowl.

Illinois and Louisiana Tech have one common opponent this year in Western Kentucky. The Illini won 42-34 at home while the Bulldogs also won 59-10 at home.

Illinois' athletic director Mike Thomas and Beckman, along with a few players are scheduled to attend a tentative press conference at 7 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Stadium.

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