If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Over the course of an unprecedented nine over- times, Illinois survived Penn State’s botched attempt at a trick play, lost its quarter- back and a powerful running back to injury, and failed to gain just three measly yards again and again.
When Casey Washington finally came down with the winning catch Saturday, he hardly knew what to do.
“I actually cried,” he said. “It just felt good.”
The Illini came out victorious in the NCAA’s first ever nine- overtime game, edging the seventh-ranked Nittany Lions 20-18 on Washington’s 2- point conversion catch from Brandon Peters to end a string of goal-line stalemates under college football’s recently rewritten overtime rules.
The sides were tied at 10 after regulation, exchanged field goals in the first two over- times, then began to alter- nate one-and-done drives from the 3-yard line in the third OT as part of a format tweaked ahead of the 2021 season.
Penn State tried to win it then and there with a varia- tion of the famed “Philly Special” play the Eagles used to win Super Bowl LII. Quarterback Sean Clifford was wide open near the goal line on the trick play, but tight end Tyler Warren’s pass attempt missed its mark. Quarterback Artur Sitkowski missed a receiver on Illinois’ first try, and both defense held firm for the four OTs that followed. Illinois attempted three more passes that fell incomplete, and Josh McCray was stopped at the goal line in the seventh over- time.
Illinois: The Illini were in it from the opening whistle. They used seven-man fronts and the hard-charging abili- ties of McCray and Brown to outmuscle Penn State’s defense nearly all day.
Penn State: Getting Clifford back perhaps sooner than they thought was great news for the Nittany Lions, espe- cially since their running game is virtually nonexistent and they’ll need all the offense they can get with games at No. 5 Ohio State, vs. No. 6 Michigan and at No. 9 Michigan State coming up. Illinois: Hosts Rutgers.