Multiple Overtime College Football Games and Team Records

One of the biggest changes in college football took place in 1995, when the NCAA adopted an overtime rule for all bowl games with all Division 1-A (now FBS) games being able to go to OT the following year. Prior to that, a game would end in a tie after 60 minutes.

The switch to this overtime system (with a few revisions along the way) changed the complexion of the sport. Prior to 1995, teams could opt for a tie to avoid a loss. There was no better example of this than the 1988 Sugar Bowl.

In the game, 11-0 Syracuse played 9-1-1 Auburn. With the Orange ahead 16-13 in the final seconds, the Tigers elected to kick a field goal from the Syracuse 13-yard line as time expired instead of going for a touchdown to win the game. The call angered Syracuse players and fans, as a 12-0 season would’ve given them a chance at a share of a national championship with Miami. Even many of Auburn’s players were upset with the decision to play it safe. The fans were as well, as nearly all of the 79,000 in attendance booed after the game ended in a 16-16 tie.

If that scenario played out today, Syracuse and Auburn would head to overtime to decide a winner. Let’s see how overtime was introduced into college football and how it developed into the system in use today. We’ll also review games with the most overtimes in history and teams with the best overtime records. Finally, we’ll share how multiple overtimes can affect point spread and over-under total bettors.

Multiple Overtime College Football Games 2002-2022

Multiple Overtime College Football Games 2002-2022
Overtimes Total Last Game
2107Appalachian State at Georgia Southern
GASO 51, APP 48 (2OT)
11/26/22 6:00pm EST
351Houston at UTSA
HOU 37, UTSA 35 (3OT)
9/03/22 3:30pm EDT
413Miami (FL) at Virginia
MIA 14, UVA 12 (4OT)
10/29/22 12:30pm EDT
54Hawaii at San Jose State
HAW 44, SJSU 41 (5OT)
9/29/18 7:00pm EDT
62North Carolina at Virginia Tech
VT 43, UNC 41 (6OT)
10/19/19 3:30pm EDT
75Eastern Kentucky at Bowling Green
EKU 59, BGSU 57 (7OT)
9/10/22 4:00pm EDT
91Illinois at Penn State
ILL 20, PSU 18 (9OT)
10/23/21 12:00pm EDT

College Football Overtime Rules History

For lower divisions of college football, playoff games in Division I-AA (now FCS), II, and III used an overtime system starting in 1975. It was expanded to all regular-season games in those divisions in 1981.

The system was based on the Kansas Overtime system that was created for Kansas State high school football games. That system gives each team the ball at the 10-yard line, and the team with the most points after each possession was the winner. If it was tied, another set of possessions were held until there was a winner. A coin toss determines which team gets to decide whether to play offense or defense first.

The rules were modified a bit for the NCAA and have been tweaked throughout the years.

Original College Football Overtime Rules

The first NCAA football overtime rules took the Kansas system but put the ball at the 25-yard line in order to make it a bit more difficult for a team to score a touchdown. The typical four-down rules are used. In case of a turnover, the team that recovers the ball begins their possession at the opponent’s 25-yard line regardless of where they ended up following the turnover. The only exception is if they score off the interception or fumble, in which case, it counts as a touchdown and the game is over.

First College Football Overtime Game

The first-ever NCAA overtime game was in the Division III playoffs in 1976, when Buena Vista beat Carroll of Wisconsin 20-14.

In FBS, the first overtime game was the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl. In that game between Toledo and Nevada, the score was tied at 34 after regulation. The Wolfpack were stopped short of the goal line in their first possession and had to settle for a field goal. The Rockets got the ball and needed just four plays to score a touchdown, ending the game on Wasean Tait’s fourth rushing TD of the game to win it 40-37. The win closed out an undefeated season for Toledo, finishing 10-0-1.

Subsequent Overtime Rule Changes

1997 – In an effort to keep games from going too long, teams were forced to attempt a two-point conversion following a touchdown starting in the third overtime. Converting on the two-point play is less likely than making an extra point kick.

2019 – The length of overtime games were becoming a concern. A 2018 seven-OT game between Texas A&M and LSU had over 200 plays run, and another 7-OT game the year before with Western Michigan vs. Buffalo took nearly five hours to play. In response, the NCAA ruled that starting with the fifth overtime, teams would start alternating two-point conversion plays from the 2-yard line instead of having full offensive possessions.

2021 – The overtime process was shortened even more under the current rules. Now, a team must go for a two-point conversion after a touchdown in the second overtime period. Starting in the third OT, teams alternate two-point conversion attempts instead of the fifth OT.

Notable Multiple College Football Multiple Overtimes

List of College Football 4+ Overtime Games 2002-2022
Game Overtimes Result
Illinois at
Penn State
9OT
10/23/21 12:00pm EDT
ILL 20, PSU 18 (9OT)
Eastern Kentucky at
Bowling Green
7OT
9/10/22 4:00pm EDT
EKU 59, BGSU 57 (7OT)
LSU at
Texas A&M
7OT
11/24/18 7:30pm EST
TA&M 74, LSU 72 (7OT)
Western Michigan at
Buffalo
7OT
10/07/17 3:30pm EDT
WMU 71, BUFF 68 (7OT)
FIU at
North Texas
7OT
10/07/06 7:00pm EDT
UNT 25, FIU 22 (7OT)
Arkansas at
Kentucky
7OT
11/01/03 7:00pm EST
ARK 71, UK 63 (7OT)
North Carolina at
Virginia Tech
6OT
10/19/19 3:30pm EDT
VT 43, UNC 41 (6OT)
Arkansas at
Tennessee
6OT
10/05/02 7:45pm EDT
TENN 41, ARK 38 (6OT)
Hawaii at
San Jose State
5OT
9/29/18 7:00pm EDT
HAW 44, SJSU 41 (5OT)
UTEP at
UTSA
5OT
10/22/16 7:00pm EDT
UTEP 52, UTSA 49 (5OT)
Stony Brook at
Buffalo
5OT
9/14/13 3:30pm EDT
BUFF 26, STON 23 (5OT)
Tennessee at
Alabama
5OT
10/25/03 3:30pm EDT
TENN 51, ALA 43 (5OT)
Miami (FL) at
Virginia
4OT
10/29/22 12:30pm EDT
MIA 14, UVA 12 (4OT)
Memphis at
East Carolina
4OT
10/15/22 7:30pm EDT
ECU 47, MEM 45 (4OT)
Liberty at
Southern Miss
4OT
9/03/22 7:00pm EDT
LIB 29, USM 27 (4OT)
Alabama at
Auburn
4OT
11/27/21 3:30pm EST
ALA 24, AUB 22 (4OT)
South Alabama at
Texas State
4OT
10/09/21 7:00pm EDT
TXST 33, USA 31 (4OT)
Texas at
Oklahoma
4OT
10/10/20 12:00pm EDT
OU 53, TEX 45 (4OT)
Louisiana at
Tulane
4OT
9/24/16 8:00pm EDT
TULN 41, ULL 39 (4OT)
North Carolina A&T at
Kent State
4OT
9/10/16 6:00pm EDT
NCAT 39, KENT 36 (4OT)
Auburn at
Arkansas
4OT
10/24/15 12:00pm EDT
ARK 54, AUB 46 (4OT)
Duke at
Virginia Tech
4OT
10/24/15 3:30pm EDT
DUKE 45, VT 43 (4OT)
Michigan at
Penn State
4OT
10/12/13 5:00pm EDT
PSU 43, MICH 40 (4OT)
Texas A&M at
Kansas State
4OT
11/12/11 3:30pm EST
KSU 53, TA&M 50 (4OT)
Louisiana at
Middle Tennessee
4OT
11/15/03 3:00pm EST
ULL 57, MTSU 51 (4OT)

9OT Illinois at Penn State – 10/23/2021 – Week 8

With the new rules that teams skip the possessions and just go for alternating two-point conversions starting in the third overtime, we saw the record of a nine-overtime game set in 2021. Not only did Illinois and Penn State set the record for most overtimes in a college football game, the Illini also upset the then-No. 7 Nittany Lions on their home field.

Penn State, a 24.5-point favorite, finished regulation tied at 10 with Illinois. The total of 20 was far under the over-under total of 45.5, and even with nine extra overtime periods, the total still was under the number.

Each team traded field goals in the first two OTs, making it 16-16. Surprisingly, each team failed to score in the next five possessions when they had to attempt a two-point conversion. Illinois broke through in the eighth OT with a Brandon Peters pass to Isaiah Williams, but then the Nittany Lions responded with a scoring run by Noah Cain. After Penn State failed to convert to start OT No. 9, Peters then found Casey Washington in the end zone for a successful conversion to win the game 20-18.

7OT Eastern Kentucky at Bowling Green – 9/10/2022 – Week 2

A seven-overtime game to start the 2022 season was a high-scoring contest more typical of multiple OT games. FBS program Eastern Kentucky was tied with Bowling Green at 38 at the end of regulation.

With defense not exactly at a premium, each team scored touchdowns in the first two OT periods, but both teams failed on the two-point conversion attempt at the end of the second overtime. The teams then went to trade two-point conversion attempts starting with the third OT.

The teams each converted in the third, fourth, and sixth OT and failed in the third. In the seventh overtime, Falcons QB Matt McDonald threw an incomplete pass. The Colonels had a chance to win it and did so when Parker McKinney found Braedon Sloan for the upset 59-57 win. BGSU went into the game as a 7.5-point favorite with an over-under total of 57, which was easily surpassed before the OT periods even began.

7OT LSU at Texas A&M – 11/24/2018 – Week 13

As mentioned above, this game was the catalyst for the NCAA tightening up the overtime rules. In addition to over 200 plays being run between LSU and Texas A&M, the 74-72 Aggies win also marked the most combined points (146) in an FBS football game.

Ironically, the game never would’ve gone to overtime if not for a reversed call on an interception late in the fourth quarter. Ed Orgeron, head coach of the No. 7 Tigers, even received a Gatorade bath before the call was overturned. The Aggies, a three-point favorite, entered OT tied at 31. The game already eclipsed the 45.5 over-under total before OT even started.

The teams then combined for a combined 84 points in the seven overtimes. LSU had current NFL players Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Justin Jefferson making big plays in this one a year before they won a national championship. Aggies’ QB Kellen Mond responded with six touchdown passes and threw the game-winning two-point conversion pass to Kendrick Rogers to end the marathon.

7OT Arkansas at Ole Miss – 11/3/2001 – Week 10

Arkansas, who would end up playing in another seven-overtime game just two years later, defeated Ole Miss in what was the first college football game to reach seven extra periods in November 2001.

Tied 17-17 at the end of regulation, the teams each scored touchdowns in six of the seven overtimes to end with a final score of 58-56 in favor of Arkansas. The Rebels came into the game at 6-1 under freshman quarterback Eli Manning, but the Razorbacks upset ranked teams in each of the previous two games before this one.

Despite passing for 312 yards and six touchdowns, Manning couldn’t lead his team to victory. After the Hogs scored a touchdown and got the two-point conversion in the seventh OT, the Rebels got a TD to match. Manning, however, threw incomplete on the two-point play to end the game and keep it from going to an eighth OT.

6OT North Carolina at VA Tech 10/19/2019 – Week 8

The first game where the new overtime rules of 2019 came into play took place in Blacksburg, Virginia between ACC rivals North Carolina and Virginia Tech. The 43-41 Hokies win took six overtimes to settle, making it the longest game in ACC history.

The game was tied at 31 at the end of regulation. The teams traded field goals in the first overtime and touchdowns in the second OT session. After two scoreless periods, the new rules went into effect in the fifth OT, where teams would trade two-point conversion attempts. After both teams failed in OT No. 5, Quincy Patterson II ran into the end zone in the sixth OT to win the game for the Hokies.

Hendon Hooker, who starred for the 2022 Tennessee Volunteers after transferring, was one of three quarterbacks who played in this game for the Hokies. Javonte Williams, who ended up with the Denver Broncos in the NFL, played at running back for the Tar Heels.

College Football Overtime Team Records
College Football Overtime Team Records

College Football Teams With Best OT Records

College Football Team Records Having Played 3+ Overtime Games 2002-2022
Team Overtimes
2002-2022
Record Win%
TCU
95-4
Home: 4-4
Away: 1-0
56.00%
Michigan
86-2
Home: 3-0
Away: 3-2
75.00%
Middle Tennessee
73-4
Home: 2-3
Away: 1-1
43.00%
Syracuse
75-2
Home: 4-1
Away: 1-1
71.00%
Tennessee
73-4
Home: 1-3
Away: 2-1
43.00%
Tulsa
73-4
Home: 2-1
Away: 1-3
43.00%
Arkansas
65-1
Home: 1-0
Away: 4-1
83.00%
Michigan State
62-4
Home: 1-2
Away: 1-2
33.00%
Northern Illinois
63-3
Home: 0-1
Away: 3-2
50.00%
Baylor
52-3
Home: 1-0
Away: 1-3
40.00%
Clemson
52-3
Home: 1-1
Away: 1-2
40.00%
North Carolina
51-4
Home: 0-2
Away: 1-2
20.00%
Texas State
54-1
Home: 2-1
Away: 2-0
80.00%
Virginia Tech
52-3
Home: 2-1
Away: 0-2
40.00%
Arizona
42-2
Home: 1-2
Away: 1-0
50.00%
BYU
43-1
Home: 2-0
Away: 1-1
75.00%
California
43-1
Home: 3-1
Away: 0-0
75.00%
Georgia
42-2
Home: 0-2
Away: 2-0
50.00%
Indiana
42-2
Home: 0-1
Away: 2-1
50.00%
Iowa State
42-2
Home: 2-0
Away: 0-2
50.00%
Kent State
40-4
Home: 0-4
Away: 0-0
0.00%
Louisiana
41-3
Home: 0-1
Away: 1-2
25.00%
Louisiana Tech
41-3
Home: 1-1
Away: 0-2
25.00%
Marshall
41-3
Home: 0-0
Away: 1-3
25.00%
Memphis
42-2
Home: 2-0
Away: 0-2
50.00%
NC State
42-2
Home: 1-0
Away: 1-2
50.00%
Northwestern
42-2
Home: 2-1
Away: 0-1
50.00%
Notre Dame
42-2
Home: 2-1
Away: 0-1
50.00%
Ohio State
44-0
Home: 2-0
Away: 2-0
100.00%
Oregon
42-2
Home: 0-0
Away: 2-2
50.00%
Penn State
42-2
Home: 1-2
Away: 1-0
50.00%
San Jose State
40-4
Home: 0-4
Away: 0-0
0.00%
South Alabama
41-3
Home: 1-2
Away: 0-1
25.00%
Texas
42-2
Home: 2-0
Away: 0-2
50.00%
Texas A&M
42-2
Home: 2-1
Away: 0-1
50.00%
Texas Tech
43-1
Home: 1-0
Away: 2-1
75.00%
Utah
42-2
Home: 0-0
Away: 2-2
50.00%
UTSA
42-2
Home: 0-2
Away: 2-0
50.00%
Western Kentucky
43-1
Home: 1-0
Away: 2-1
75.00%
Wyoming
43-1
Home: 3-0
Away: 0-1
75.00%
Alabama
31-2
Home: 0-2
Away: 1-0
33.00%
Appalachian State
31-2
Home: 1-0
Away: 0-2
33.00%
East Carolina
32-1
Home: 2-1
Away: 0-0
67.00%
Fresno State
30-3
Home: 0-2
Away: 0-1
0.00%
Georgia Southern
33-0
Home: 2-0
Away: 1-0
100.00%
Hawaii
33-0
Home: 1-0
Away: 2-0
100.00%
Houston
31-2
Home: 0-0
Away: 1-2
33.00%
Kansas State
32-1
Home: 2-0
Away: 0-1
67.00%
Miami (FL)
32-1
Home: 0-1
Away: 2-0
67.00%
Minnesota
33-0
Home: 1-0
Away: 2-0
100.00%
Navy
32-1
Home: 0-0
Away: 2-1
67.00%
North Texas
32-1
Home: 1-1
Away: 1-0
67.00%
Ohio
32-1
Home: 0-1
Away: 2-0
67.00%
Oklahoma
32-1
Home: 1-1
Away: 1-0
67.00%
Pittsburgh
30-3
Home: 0-1
Away: 0-2
0.00%
Purdue
30-3
Home: 0-2
Away: 0-1
0.00%
Rice
30-3
Home: 0-2
Away: 0-1
0.00%
Stanford
32-1
Home: 0-1
Away: 2-0
67.00%
Tulane
31-2
Home: 1-0
Away: 0-2
33.00%
UNLV
31-2
Home: 1-2
Away: 0-0
33.00%
USC
31-2
Home: 1-1
Away: 0-1
33.00%
Wake Forest
31-2
Home: 1-1
Away: 0-1
33.00%

TCU

TCU (Texas Christian University) holds the NCAA FBS record for most overtime wins with nine. The Horned Frogs broke a tie with Michigan on October 1, 2022 (Week 5) in a 43-40 win over Oklahoma State. It was an exciting game between two unbeaten teams, as TCU improved to 6-0 with the win over the then-No. 8 Cowboys, who dropped to 5-1. In 2012, TCU had just joined the Big 12 and took new rival Texas Tech to a triple-overtime win.

Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines have eight overtime victories, including back-to-back wins over rival Michigan State in 2004 and ‘05. In Michigan’s first overtime game, which was the 2000 Orange Bowl against Alabama, the Wolverines scored on Tom Brady’s final collegiate pass–a 25-yard strike to Shawn Thompson to take the lead. The Crimson Tide responded with a touchdown of their own, but they missed the extra point to send Michigan home a 35-34 winner.

Middle Tennessee, Syracuse, Tennessee

Three teams have seven overtime wins and are tied for third place. Tennessee’s most-recent victory proved to be an important one, as it paved the way for a big 2022 season. Playing on the road at No. 14 Pittsburgh in the second game for each team on September 10th, 2022, Hendon Hooker and Cedric Tillman had big games on offense in the 34-27 win.

Syracuse’s most memorable win took place on November 9, 2022 (Week 12) when the Orange pulled out a 50-42 win over then-No. 7 Virginia Tech in triple overtime. Quarterback Troy Nunes threw for over 400 yards in the win, and wide receiver David Tyree had 229 receiving yards, and both performances rank in the top-five on Syracuse’s all-time list. You may remember Tyree for making the “Helmet Catch” in the New York Giants’ Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in February 2008.

Overtime Betting Insights

Since overtime is a part of the game itself, all wagering on a full game (unless otherwise specified) includes the 60 minutes of regulation and any overtimes needed to determine a winner.

When it comes to overtime games and sports betting, two things ring true: Point spreads 9 points or larger produce an automatic result, and betting the under can be a losing proposition.

9 Point or Larger Spreads Mean the Underdog Wins

A team can’t score a defensive touchdown under the college football overtime rules, so the widest margin of victory can be eight points.

-9 or Larger Point Spread Favorites Always Lose
If you bet on a favorite with a spread -9 or larger, you will not be able to win the bet in overtime.

+9 or Larger Point Spread Underdogs Always Win
Conversely, if you have an underdog bet higher than +9 or larger, you are guaranteed to be a winner.

Overtime Doesn’t Help Under Bettors

The college football overtime system does not benefit those betting on the under part of a totals bet. No running clock and no set end to the game means that the scoreboard can only go up, up, up.

An example of a bad beat on the under is from a game with TCU vs. Baylor on November 9, 2019 (Week 11). This game between TCU and Baylor was tied 9-9 at the end of regulation, so those wagering under on the total of 49 were looking good. The teams then combined for 34 points in three overtimes with the Bears winning 29-23, pushing the total of the game to 52 points and an unlikely win for the over.

The rule changes of 2019 and ‘21, however, do give those betting on the under have more of a chance to survive overtime with a winning bet. That’s because teams alternate two-point conversion attempts following the second overtime, so a total of four points can be scored starting with the third OT instead of a possibility of 16 points.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that forcing every game to have a winner is the correct one. In the past, bowl games would end in a tie and there would be more of a flat, deflated feeling from both sides than anything. It’s better to have a winner and a loser.

The college football overtime system provides plenty of excitement for fans and bettors alike–except for potential added stress of under bettors! Games getting into overtime periods of six, seven, and beyond are historic and memorable. A big part of sports is to provide entertainment, and college football OT games do just that.

College Football Required Reading

What is the record for most college football overtimes?

The record for most college football overtimes is 9 set on October 23, 2021, when Illinois defeated Penn State 20-18.

When was the first college football overtime game?

The first-ever NCAA overtime game was in the Division III playoffs in 1976, when Buena Vista beat Carroll of Wisconsin 20-14.

When was the first college football FBS overtime game?

The first FBS overtime game was the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl. In that game between Toledo and Nevada, the score was tied at 34 after regulation. Toledo’s Wasean Tait scored his fourth rushing TD of the game to win it 40-37.

What is the most college football overtimes LSU has played?

LSU played 7 overtimes when it lost to Texas A&M 74-72 on November 24, 2018.

What is the most college football overtimes Alabama has played?

Alabama played 5 overtimes when it lost to Tennessee at home 51-43 on October 25, 2003.

What is the most college football overtimes Texas has played?

Texas played 4 overtimes when it lost to Oklahoma on the road 53-45 on October 10, 2022.

When was Michigan’s first overtime college football game?

In Michigan’s first overtime game, which was the 2000 Orange Bowl against Alabama, the Wolverines scored on Tom Brady’s final collegiate pass–a 25-yard strike to Shawn Thompson to take the lead. The Crimson Tide responded with a touchdown of their own, but they missed the extra point to send Michigan home a 35-34 winner.