Illinois stuns No. 7 Penn State in first 9-OT game

NCAAF

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Casey Washington caught a 2-point conversion pass from Brandon Peters to end the first nine-overtime game in NCAA history and lift Illinois over No. 7 Penn State 20-18 Saturday.

The teams were tied at 10 after regulation, exchanged field goals in the first two overtimes, then began to alternate 2-point attempts in the third OT as part of a format tweaked ahead of the 2021 season.

Neither team converted until the eighth overtime, when Isaiah Williams ran one in to put Illinois up 18-16. Penn State’s Noah Cain kept the game alive with a 2-point run of his own.

In the ninth OT, Sean Clifford‘s pass to Parker Washington was broken up by linebacker Khalan Tolson. Peters then found Washington near the back of the end zone for the winning completion.

The 2-point conversion shootout started in 2019, the season after LSU and Texas A&M played a seven overtime game that left both teams badly beaten up. The rule was tweaked this year, with the 2-point conversion possessions beginning with the third overtime instead of the fifth.

The Illini (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten) outgained the Nittany Lions 370 yards to 207 in regulation and battled back from an early 10-0 deficit.

Peters, normally Illinois’ starter, came off the bench when Artur Sitkowski hurt his left hand in the sixth overtime period.

KeAndre Lambert-Smith caught a touchdown pass and Jordan Stout added three field goals for the Nittany Lions (5-2, 2-2) who ran for just 62 yards and struggled to protect ailing Clifford.

Led by Brown’s 229 total yards, the Illini tied it 10-10 early in the fourth quarter with a 37-yard field goal from McCourt.

A sloppy fourth quarter gave way to overtime where McCourt and Stout matched each other on field goals before a string of goal line standoffs pushed the game into unprecedented territory.

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