37.6 F
Fort Worth
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Education Ex-Illini faces former team in Heart of Dallas Bowl

Ex-Illini faces former team in Heart of Dallas Bowl

Other News

The virus and sport: Women’s PGA Championship to be played Oct. 6-11

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: The...

Exxon’s oil slick

Exxon Mobil is slashing its capital spending budget for 2020 by 30% due to weak demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a market...

Folk music’s Mark Twain: 7 Essential tracks from John Prine,

NEW YORK (AP) — Some people, the songs just come out of them. For nearly half a century, they tumbled out of John Prine...

Tarrant County records another COVID-19 death

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) on Wednesday, April 8 reported that a resident of Euless has died as the result of the COVID-19 virus....
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.



DALLAS (AP) – Houston Bates kept telling his Illinois teammates last year how much fun it would be to play in a bowl game.

The Fighting Illini now get to find out what he meant, with Bates opposing them as one of Louisiana Tech’s starting defensive ends in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

“Playing with those guys was always a fun time, but playing against them, I really don’t know how it can be better,” Bates said. “It’s not going to be like a hate matchup. It’s going to be a fun one because I didn’t leave those guys on bad terms.”

It is an ironic career finale for Bates, who after graduating from Illinois last spring transferred to Louisiana Tech to be closer to home so his mother could be at every game of his final season.

“I’m proud of him. There were situations he wanted to move closer to his mother, totally understood,” Illinois coach Tim Beckman said. “I’m in the student-athlete business here, so Houston Bates was everything I wanted, everything I asked him to be. So of course, I’d help him and release him.”

Louisiana Tech (8-5), the Conference USA runner-up led by graduate transfers Bates and quarterback Cody Sokol, plays the Illini (6-6) on Friday at Cotton Bowl Stadium.

Bates said his mother got to see only about half his games during his three seasons playing for Illinois. Even after tearing a ligament in her knee this year, she made it to every game – especially with home games on the Ruston campus only about four hours from Bates’ hometown of Covington, Louisiana.

“Losing my dad and not having him come to my games, it’s really been special for her to come see all of them,” said Bates, whose father died more than a decade ago after a battle with leukemia.

Bates has fulfilled the promise he made to his dad to play college football.

“It’s been everything,” Bates said. “He wasn’t in the stands … but I know he was watching over me.”

When Bates decided to transfer from Illinois after a 4-8 season, he sat down with Beckman about leaving the program he had grown to love dearly. He had already spoken with his mother and other family members about coming home, knowing he would be eligible to play immediately somewhere else since he already had his degree in community health.

“I remember going in there, being the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Bates said. “I think I’ve grown as a man since that, and it was a great decision on my part. He knows that, coming down here and being close to my family for one year. I’m glad I did it, and I don’t regret it. It’s going to be kind of crazy ending up playing Illinois as a result of that.”

Bates, who played in a bowl for Illinois as a redshirt freshman in 2011, started every game last season for the Illini. He now leads Louisiana Tech with 5½ sacks and helped fill a significant void after the Bulldogs lost defensive end IK Enemkpali in the NFL draft last May.

“He’s just been a huge addition to our program,” Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said. “I know that Houston’s going to have a lot of friends on the other side of the ball. But I’m glad in this game he’s going to be wearing that Louisiana Tech logo on the side of his helmet.”

Latest News

Rays, Dodgers grateful to have fans at neutral-site Series

By SCHUYLER DIXON AP Sports Writer ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Individual whistles echo during quieter moments, and a single...

Dodgers look to finish off Rays in Game 6 of World Series

Tampa Bay Rays (40-20, first in the AL East) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (43-17, first in the NL West)

Theatre Wesleyan presents Portraits In Black

Portraits In Black, a collection of scenes and monologues on the Black experience by Gus Edwards, will conclude...

UTA to offer new bachelor’s degree in business analytics

Radha Mahapatra, chair of the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management at UTA. Credit: UTA The University of Texas...

NASCAR’s Cup playoff at misty TMS put on hold another day

By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas...