Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penn State 24, Illinois 17 Finding a Little Extra Late Nittany Lions Shake the Lull of Lackluster Regulation with Big Plays in Overtime

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penn State 24, Illinois 17 Finding a Little Extra Late Nittany Lions Shake the Lull of Lackluster Regulation with Big Plays in Overtime

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. --

Somebody had to win because that is what happens in college football. It's what separates the sport from the animals, or from soccer anyway.

But through regulation, neither Penn State nor Illinois could fully accept the gifts each one packaged for the other in the form of odd timeout calls, turnovers, illegal snaps and a sideline interference penalty. So this Big Ten Conference game went to overtime and then, finally, Penn State did enough right, winning, 24- 17, after a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Carter followed by an interception by safety Ryan Keiser.

Keiser's interception came on the first offensive play of overtime for Illinois (3-5, 0-4). With the ball tipped in the air, he dived and caught it, realizing immediately that because of his sure hands the game had ended. It was a beautiful play -- one of the few in this game and one of relief. As happy as the postgame locker room was, the players realize they will have plenty of lessons to learn, considering they nearly blew a 14-point lead to a team lacking a Big Ten win.

"That game should have been over by halftime, really," Carter said. "We just have to convert on those mistakes."

Three illegal snaps that were part of 11 total penalties hurt Penn State (5-3, 2-2), as did a late Bill Belton fumble (he finished with a career-high 201 rushing yards) and a loss of offensive firepower. The lone score for Penn State from the 13:13 mark of the second quarter until overtime was a 35-yard Sam Ficken field goal that sent the game to overtime.

Let's talk about this overtime. Unlike the previous 60 minutes of game action, the scant plays provided some football to cherish.

Aware of what had happened earlier in the game and aware of what happened during an overtime session that lasted four periods against Michigan, quarterback Christian Hackenberg expressed a desire to end this game as soon as possible. He told his offense they only would be going one overtime.

"It was one of those gotta have it moments," Hackenberg said.

Yet another miscue, a holding penalty, put the Nittany Lions in a tough situation. They faced a third-and-goal from the 15. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.