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Illini football players are readying for the Heart of Dallas Bowl game against Louisiana Tech.

Reports say that the players had a walkthrough Thursday at the Cotton Bowl stadium and posed for photos. The team was scheduled to arrive in Champaign around 8 p.m. yesterday after playing in its first bowl game under coach Tim Beckman.

Tim Knox is director of operation for the Illinois football team. He says players had four hours to spend with family on Christmas Day.

University of Illinois President Bob Easter was among fans on a Christmas morning flight from Champaign to Dallas. He says a bowl game is a "tremendous" experience for the Illini.

Players have stayed busy in Texas. On Tuesday, Beckman and team members volunteered at a food pantry.

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