Two-point conversion adds to the drama
Question: How do you like the NCAA's new overtime rule?
I admit before Saturday I wasn’t aware of the tweak in the new overtime rule that turned it into a two-point conversion contest after two extra periods.
But I liked it.
I’ve never thought a tie was the worst thing in the world anyway, and I definitely didn’t think college athletes should be subjected to endless games by lining up at the 25-yard line repeatedly and sometimes getting a first down or two and thus running 10 extra plays in each series.
I wouldn’t even like it if they moved to the 10-yard line after a couple tries from the 25 because it still means potentially another 30 snaps — too many.
As it was, with two-point conversions in the historic nine-overtime game/debacle, Penn State’s defense was on the field for more than 100 plays against Illinois.
Even with the new NIL rules where some college athletes are now compensated — legally — it never felt right for teams to play three-four-five overtimes and sometimes more.
When there’s no overtime, teams play to win more aggressively. Joe Paterno coached 448 games and had three ties — only one of which he settled for by kicking a last-second field goal (24-24 at Pitt in 1983, which was really more of a loss to Pitt.)
With the stakes what they are in college football today, the overtime rules make sense, and so does going to a two-point conversion to help shorten the game.
Let’s not confuse how Penn State played the last seven overtimes or the end result with the rule itself.
There’s an old saying if you can’t make a yard, you don’t deserve to win. Well, if you can’t make more than one two-point conversion in seven tries, you don’t deserve to win, either.
Penn State tried to run, throw and even used a gadget play where it got the ball to its best player, Jahan Dotson, which was a good idea, and he flipped it to wildcat option Tyler Warren coming left and throwing left — another good idea.
The problem was the pass wasn’t perfect, and the receiver was the Lions’ quarterback, Sean Clifford, who was already so banged up he couldn’t pull in the game-winning reception.
That wasn’t a good idea, but it added to the drama and extended the game without further torturing the players too badly, other than making them traipse up and down the field to the opposite end zone each time.
(Credit the photographers for their hustle, lugging their equipment 100 yards to position themselves for the game-winning pictures and reaction.)
The rule is designed to expedite the ending, and the rule worked fine Saturday. It was Penn State and Illinois that kept repeatedly failing.
Or did they? Some of the plays required extra effort to make tackles just shy of the goal line — the kind of winning determination that should be present in overtime.
If you were a paying customer at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, you got your money’s worth — even if you didn’t like the verdict.
If you flipped on the TV, with no dog in the fight, you had to be more intrigued by the two-point conversion parade than the previous overtime rules.
Rudel can be reached at email@example.com.