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Arkansas Goes the Distance

Southeastern: Razorbacks beat Mississippi, 58-56, in seventh overtime--the longest major-college game.

November 04, 2001|Associated Press

OXFORD, Miss. — Arkansas linebacker Jermaine Petty put an emphatic end to the longest game in major-college history.

Petty stopped Mississippi tight end Doug Ziegler two yards short of the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt in the seventh overtime possession Saturday night to give the Razorbacks a 58-56 victory.

"We expected them to go the tight end. We knew it boiled down to that one play," Petty said. "I'd like to celebrate and be rah-rah, but we played four hours. We're just glad to win and glad it's over."

With Arkansas ahead, 58-50, Mississippi's Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to cut the lead to two points.

After Petty's tackle, Arkansas players celebrated, hugging each other and falling into the end zone, while the Rebels hung their heads and trudged off the field.

Arkansas and Mississippi combined for 198 plays, breaking the previous Division I record of 196 set in 1971. They scored 80 points in overtime, another Division I record.

"The historical significance of the game hasn't sunk in yet, but I know this much: We'll never forget it," said Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt. "No one deserved to lose."

Mississippi is 6-2, 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference; Arkansas is 5-3, 3-3.

Arkansas' rushing game was equal to Manning's passing as the two teams ended regulation in a 17-17 tie.

Manning threw for six touchdowns, completing 27 of 42 for 312 yards, but Ole Miss couldn't overcome 100-yard games by Fred Talley, Cedric Cobbs and Matt Jones. Mark Pierce added 39 yards and three touchdowns to round out Arkansas' ground game.

It was the ninth consecutive game with a touchdown pass for Manning, breaking a record he shared with his father, Archie Manning.

On fourth and one in the first overtime, Arkansas' Cobbs bounced around the corner and ran 16 yards for a touchdown.

But Manning, on fourth down from his own 12, fired a rocket to Jason Armstead for a touchdown.

The second overtime ended with no points after Manning bobbled a shotgun snap and was stripped of the ball. Arkansas' 35-yard field-goal attempt was wide right

The teams matched each other touchdown for touchdown and conversion for conversion--until overtime possession No. 7.

Arkansas scored on a two-yard run by Pierce and followed with a two-point conversion. Manning answered with a three-yard touchdown pass, then the conversion play to Ziegler that was stopped short.

Arkansas outrushed Mississippi, 370 yards to 145. Arkansas gained 531 yards and Ole Miss had 457.

NCAA rules state that when the third overtime session begins, teams must go for two points after scoring a touchdown.

There have been three games with six overtime possessions--all in Division I-AA.

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