HomeSportsWATCH: Illinois Beats Penn State During Wild Finish in Record-Setting 9-Overtime Game

WATCH: Illinois Beats Penn State During Wild Finish in Record-Setting 9-Overtime Game

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

One of the best parts of college football has to be the superior overtime rules to the NFL. Illinois and Penn State played 9 OT periods. By the end of it, the score wasn’t as high as you would expect, but the results were just as electric and exciting. Illinois was able to take the upset on the road at Beaver Stadium.

The last time that Illinois football took down a top-10 team on the road happened all the way back on November 10, 2007. That game was against Ohio State. When the Illini came to Penn State, they were a 2-5 team and a multiple touchdown underdog. However, that didn’t matter when the pads started popping.

Big 10 football is classic college football. This game between Illinois and the Nittany Lions was a perfect example. By the time the Illini took the win, this game went down in the record books for the most overtimes in FBS history. It was also a test of the new long overtime rules. Watch Artur Sitkowski complete just his 8th pass of the day for the win.

With only 38 yards passing all game, the Illini racked up an astonishing 363 yards rushing. There was a path for Penn State to still make the College Football Playoff, however, Illinois put any of that talk to rest with their big win today.

Slow, Ugly Game Gives Illinois Big Win on the Road

This is one of the biggest wins in modern Illinois football history. These wins on the road against a top-ranked opponent don’t come often. For a team that is probably not having the season they expected, this win gives them a lot of confidence. Now, Illinois is looking at four games left on the schedule. That includes a meeting with No.11 Iowa.

This was a Big 10 game that looked and felt like one watching it. With Illinois having no passing game, the run was all there was. Penn State had a healthy mix, but their running game is not their strength this season. Despite throwing an interception and losing two fumbles, this game went into overtime. That’s when the fun began.

There were a lot of kicks. Each kicker was 3/4 on the day. Both did what they had to do to get their teams to the next stage. Then, the new rules kicked in. After so many overtime periods, teams are lined up to score two-point conversions. Whoever fails to score first, loses. That’s why the score got so wonky after the 16-16 tie. The teams traded scores, then the 9th overtime happened.

Illinois chose to defend first. James Franklin dialed up a quick float pass to the corner of the end zone for his offense. That pass was deflected and set up the Illini for their winning score. To be fair, most expected it to be a run. However, Artur Sitkowski collected himself, made the checks, and hit his man wide open in the end zone. Game over. Illinois survives with a 20-18 win on the road against No.7 Penn State.