BASICS

WHERE: Dallas

WHEN: Noon

TV: ESPN

Line: Louisiana Tech by 6.

Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads 1-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Illinois will try for the third time in five seasons to win a bowl game and finish 7-6. This is the Illini’s first bowl game for third-year coach Tim Beckman. Louisiana Tech goes for its third nine-win season since starting play at college football’s highest classification in 1989, first as a Division I-A independent.

KEY MATCHUP

Louisiana Tech DE Houston Bates vs. Illinois QB Reilly O’Toole and the rest of his former Illini teammates: After graduating from Illinois in the spring, Bates transferred closer to home so that his mother could see him play every game his final season. Bates leads Louisiana Tech with 51/2 sacks. O’Toole is one of many good friends still playing for the Illini, including former roommates and hunting buddies.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Illinois: Junior LB Mason Monheim has 108 tackles, four forced fumbles and two interceptions, one he returned for a touchdown.

Louisiana Tech: Junior RB Kenneth Dixon has 3,347 career yards rushing, 6 shy of the school record.

FACTS & FIGURES

Louisiana Tech is 2-3-1 in bowl games; Illinois is 8-9. ... Louisiana Tech has scored 164 points off turnovers. ... Beckman’s fourth game as Illinois’ coach was a 52-24 home loss to Louisiana Tech in 2012.