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2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl Recap

Louisiana Tech tops Big Ten member Illinois 35-18

Louisiana Tech’s Houston Bates made his presence known against his former team. Bates, who totaled 4 ½ sacks in his Illinois career, had 4 ½ in the bowl game against the Illini.

Bates graduated early and transferred to Louisiana Tech in order to be closer to home. He was named MVP in the Bulldogs 35-18 win in the bowl game.

"It wasn't Houston Bates vs. Illinois. It was Louisiana Tech vs. Illinois," Bates said.

The Bulldogs had two huge touchdown plays, one on an 80-yard reception from Kenneth Dixon and a 69-yard interception return from Xavier Woods. Louisiana Tech also added touchdown runs from Dixon and Blake Martin.

Illinois made many mistakes with penalties and missed field goals, but were able to cut the game to a three-point deficit on a 43-yard field goal, but Dixon scored his second touchdown and pushed the game to 28-18.

"The way the guys played, Kenneth and Cody and throughout the whole season, it's truly outstanding," Bates said. "It's something I'm going to live for the rest of my life. And if I die tomorrow, my life would be complete."

Dixon became the Bulldogs leading rusher. He added another 63 that pushed his total to 3,410. The Bulldogs running back also became the first player this season to have both a run and catch for 80 yards each.

With two forced turnovers, Louisiana Tech added to their NCAA lead in forced turnovers. The Bulldogs have converted those turnovers into 198 points.

The win gave Louisiana Tech its first bowl win since 2008 and pushed them to 9-5 on the season.

Illinois could not overcome eight first half penalties for 53-yards and fell to 6-7 on the season.


By Nikolai Gionti
DFN Sports Guest Writer

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