Illinois Upset Penn State, 20-18, In A Hideous, Record-Setting 9 Overtime Game

Illinois Upset Penn State, 20-18, In A Hideous, Record-Setting 9 Overtime Game

Illinois was a 23-point underdog on Saturday when they arrived in Happy Valley to take on Penn State as the Nittany Lions got quarterback Sean Clifford back on the field.

However, the Illini were able to gash Penn State on the ground, controlling the tempo and grinding the game to a slog. On the other side, Clifford and the Penn State offense couldn’t get going aside from an early TD drive, and late in the fourth quarter the two teams found themselves tied at 10-10. Neither seemed particularly interested in making a costly mistake that could lose the game in regulation, and ultimately we arrived at overtime with the seventh ranked Nittany Lions needing to figure out something quickly on offense.

That moment of inspiration never came, as they managed just eight points in a record-breaking nine overtime periods, with none of those coming via touchdown. How does that happen? Well, the new rule from the NCAA meant to speed games up is that after double overtime, both teams simply get one attempt at a two-point conversion. After trading field goals in the first two overtimes, the two teams managed to fail on 10 consecutive two-point conversion attempts, with some of the closest calls below.

Penn State opened the ninth overtime with another failure, which gave Illinois yet another chance to win the game with a conversion. This time, Brandon Peters, who entered in 5OT after Art Sitkowski got hurt, threw the game-winning pass to mercifully put an end to the game.

It was a painful, yet hysterical game to watch, as neither offense could do anything all game and that even managed to continue despite being put on the three yard line over and over and over again. For Penn State, it’s a brutal loss that all but ends their hopes at a Big Ten title or a New Years Six bowl, while Illinois, which has looked hapless at times this season, now has wins over Penn State and Wisconsin because, well, college football.