NCAA Record Nine Overtimes Required as Illinois knocks off Penn State 20-18

Story posted October 24, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Logan Bourandas

Not one, not two, not three and you all get the picture.

During No. 7 Penn State’s loss at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, there were an NCAA record NINE overtime periods played as neither team could find the endzone.

The first two overtime periods ended with both the Nittany Lions and Fighting Illini settling for field goals before waiting until the eighth overtime to finally crack the endzone.

After trading two-point conversion attempts starting during the third overtime, Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters was finally able to strike as he found Isiah Williams. Penn State running back Noah Cain was able to respond on the next play to tie things up at 18.

The game ended on the next overtime as the Nittany Lions failed to convert and the Fighting Illini completed the upset with a Peters completion to Casey Washington.

With nine overtime’s there were bound to be several opportunities for the Nittany Lions to end things, but the blue and white just couldn’t do it according to head coach James Franklin.

“There were plenty of plays and plenty of opportunities for us to end it,” Franklin said. “Either we did not execute, or we did not make plays.”

The Nittany Lions had jumped out to a 10-0 lead with their lone touchdown coming on a 42-yard strike from Clifford to KeAndre Lambert-Smith.

From there, the Fighting Illini were able to claw their way back into the game working primarily on the ground.

Chase Brown and Josh McCray led the way in the rushing attack with Brown, in particular, going for 223 yards on the ground. The pair led a Fighting Illini ground game which finished with 357 yards on the day.

Both offenses stalled during the second half with only three points between the two teams.

In extra-long games like this one, a million thoughts can be going through a player's mind all at once. For Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker, he was the exact opposite.

“Just play football, the next play just keep going,” Brisker said. “Put your cleats in the ground and keep going.”

Saturday’s game made NCAA history as it had the most overtimes in any college football game.

That comes despite the recent rule change which required teams to continue trading two-point conversion attempts until one messes up after the third overtime period.

The rule change, which was put into effect headed into this season, was designed to shorten college football games which were poorly represented by Saturday’s contest according to Franklin.

“I mean obviously I think that the model was to limit these types of games and to try to end it,” Franklin said. “I don't know if obviously, this is a good representation of that because it didn’t do that today.”

Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email