Tony Adams and Illinois celebrate a 9-OT win over Penn State. Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Tony Adams (6) celebrates on the field following his teams nine overtime victory against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The most overtime periods ever played in a FBS college football game came Saturday in the Illinois Fighting Illini’s 20-18 nine-overtime road win over the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions. Of course, this came under new-for-this-year overtime rules, where two-point conversions were required beginning in the second overtime, and then the third and subsequent overtimes were two-point shootouts; the earlier records (five seven-overtime games, including Texas A&M 74, LSU 72 in 2018) were set under older rules where teams alternated actual possessions rather than two-point conversions.

But the new rules would seem to make for less protracted overtimes. As soon as one team made a conversion and one failed, the game would end. Illinois and Penn State both missed on their first seven two-point conversions Saturday, though. Here are some of those from TCB’s Ben Koo, with the others available on his Clippit page.

In the eighth overtime, the teams changed things up, with both scoring:

And in the ninth overtime, Illinois got a defensive stop, and then scored on this pass from Brandon Peters to Casey Washington, who made a great catch in traffic and hung on for the winning score:

It was particularly interesting to see senior Illini QB Peters make that throw, as he suffered an injury two weeks against Wisconsin and didn’t practice during their bye week last week. He dressed for this game, but backup Arthur Sitkowski (a sophomore) got the start, and Illinois barely threw during regulation; Sitkowski completed just eight of 15 passing attempts for 38 yards with an interception, and their only other pass attempts were two trick plays with Washington throwing, both of which wound up incomplete.

Most of the Illini offense came on the ground, with Chase Brown rushing 33 times for 222 yards and a touchdown and Josh McCray carrying 24 times for 142 yards. But after Sitkowski injured his wrist in the fourth overtime and left the game, Peters came in at quarterback. And he came through in a big way on that ninth attempt, giving Illinois their first road win against a ranked team since 2007.

Interestingly enough, that 2007 road win was against No. 1 Ohio State. But it wasn’t the only ranked win the Illini put up that year; they also beat No. 21 Penn State and No. 5 Wisconsin at home. And the Badgers were then led by Bret Bielema, who became the Illini coach this past December. And he picked up the biggest win of his Illinois tenure so far Saturday.

[Ben Koo on Clippit, Yahoo Sports; photo from Rich Barnes/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.