College Football Overtime Rules

The Penn St. vs. Michigan game on Saturday (which went to FOUR overtimes!) caused a lot of discussion in my house. Not about who was going to win, but what exactly the overtime rules were in college football. It was kind of funny to see a bunch of men having a heated discussion about it, only for all of them to concede that no one really knew. 

Penn State Nittany Lions

Here’s the low down…

College Football Overtime Rules

When the game ends in a tie after regulation (that means the normal time a game is supposed to last), they flip a coin to decide who starts with the ball and what end of the field will be used.

Each team has a chance to start at the 25 yard line closest to the goal they are trying to score in. From there, they have the same rules to score. They have just the one possession and start with 4 downs. They can get first downs every 10 yards. They can score a touch down or a field goal for points or the other team can stop them from scoring or intercept a pass or recover a fumble to end the possession too. The only real difference is they won’t punt the ball.

When they are done with their possession and whatever it results in (points or no points), the other team then gets the same chance. If after the first overtime (both teams having a possession), both teams are still tied (they both got the same number of points), then they will do the same thing again for the 2nd overtime. If a tie is still in place after 2 overtimes, then the teams must go for 2 points if they score a touchdown until one of the teams comes up with more points.

That’s pretty much it but for a more in depth look at Overtime Rules, click here. 

Why were there 4 overtimes in the Penn State – Michigan game?

In the Penn State – Michigan game on Saturday, the game ended in a 34-34 tie. In the first overtime, neither team was able to score any points as Penn St missed their field goal and then went on to block Michigan’s attempt at a field goal. It was still tied at 34 so it went to a 2nd overtime.

In this one, both teams were only able to get a field goal so it was still tied but at 37 now. So, onto the 3rd OT where neither team was able to score any points again!

In the 4th overtime, Michigan was only able to get another field goal so they had 40 points. Penn State made a risky move on 4th down. Instead of going for a field goal and going to a 5th overtime, they decided to go for it and try for a first down. They got it and then went on to score a touchdown.

The final score was 43-40 since they did not need to go for the point after. Wow!! What a game and what a sea of white at Penn State’s stadium.

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