Penn State vs. Illinois: The series history

Sep. 15—The Series: 27th meeting; Penn State leads, 20-6

The last meeting: L, 20-18 (9 OT); Oct. 23, 2021

Heavily favored and with Big Ten title hopes still high, the No. 7 Nittany Lions struggled to stop a determined Illinois rushing attack on an overcast, drizzly afternoon at Beaver Stadium on the way to a stunning defeat in the first-ever nine-overtime game in NCAA football history.

Quarterback Sean Clifford clearly still suffered ill effects from an injury that forced him out of a loss to Iowa two weeks earlier, throwing for just 165 yards. But he guided Penn State to a 10-0 lead before Illinois began to enforce its will on the ground. The Illini ran for 357 yards in the game, led by bruising Chase Brown, who had 223 himself. The game didn't end, though, until Illinois completed just its eighth pass, when quarterback Brandon Peters found receiver Casey Washington open for a touchdown in the ninth overtime.

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