It's official - Illini vs. LSU in Sugar

Monday, December 10, 2001

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois football players found out officially Sunday what they had known 18 hours earlier -- LSU would be their Sugar Bowl opponent.

"We didn't make it much of a big deal," Illini coach Ron Turner said of the Bowl Championship Selection announcements.

LSU's 31-20 win Saturday night over No. 8 Tennessee in the Southeast Conference championship put the Tigers into the Sugar Bowl thanks to the league's tie-in to the bowl.

"We would have liked to have played Nebraska, because they are one of the best and we want to show that we are one of the best, but either way we're just treating it like another game," Illini sophomore flanker Brandon Lloyd said.

Nebraska, instead, plays Miami for the BCS title on Jan. 3 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Illinois' Sugar Bowl date with No. 12 LSU is Jan. 1 in New Orleans. Illinois' share of game tickets are sold out.

Turner says the Illini will use the next few days to study tape of the LSU Tigers before resuming practice on Friday.

In their 112 year history, No. 7 Illinois has never played LSU, but they met three times with Tigers head coach Nick Saban, who had coached Michigan State to five consecutive wins over the Illini. Three of those games were against Turner-coach teams, including a 27-10 win in 1999 in Champaign.

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