Focus on college football: New OT rule paves the way for a record match | Sports


A rule change in college football this season helped create the record-breaking nine-hour overtime game on Saturday between Illinois and Penn State, although the idea that that contest lasted nine OTs is a bit misleading.

The rules committee has decided that in 2021, teams still tied after two overtime possessions would enter a 2-point conversion contest until a winner is determined. Thus, each ensuing overtime lasts only one game for each team.

This led to a series of mostly ugly and unsuccessful attempts to win the game from both sides until the Illini won in the ninth OT, 20-18. Overall, Illinois converted two of seven 2-point conversion attempts and Penn State converted only one.

“We have practiced a bit, but nothing quite looks like the reality,” said Illinois coach Bret Bielema. “It’s all a 2 point game and it comes really fast. … I was involved in a Penn State (Wisconsin) overtime game, but it was the old way and it just seems to go on forever. We want to make the fans happy, don’t we? It’s a fan generated world that we live in, and I have to believe these 2 point games are a lot of fun.

In the past, teams would have played four overtime, with possessions starting at the 25-yard line, before the start of the 2-point alternate conversion contest.

Work on streamlining the process began after a seven-way OT game between Texas A&M and the State of Louisiana in 2018. The college OT system has long been viewed as a better alternative to the NFL method.

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