The only coach who knows how it feels to win a seven-overtime game has done it twice.
Arkansas' Houston Nutt has one word to describe the experience: "unbelievable."
"We fight, fight and refused to give up," he said after Saturday's 71-63 win over Kentucky, which ended at one minute past midnight and matched the longest game in NCAA history.
Two years ago, Arkansas won 58-56 in seven overtimes at Mississippi. Last year, the Razorbacks went six overtimes before losing to Tennessee, which means Arkansas has played in the three longest Division I-A games.
"The game was meant for us and we believe we're going to win in overtime," Nutt said.
Since I-A adopted the tiebreaker in 1996, the Razorbacks are 5-1 in overtime games and 3-1 in multiple OT games, including 2-0 this season. Kentucky had played only two other overtime games, with the outcomes decided after a single period.
"There is nothing like being on the wrong side of an NCAA record," coach Rich Brooks said. "I never thought I would be in a game like that."
Kentucky rallied from a 21-7 deficit and tied it at 24 on a 13-yard touchdown from Jared Lorenzen to Chris Bernard with 1:38 left in regulation. Then came overtime, during which three I-A records fell.
Arkansas' 47 OT points topped its record of 41, set against Mississippi. The 86 combined overtime points broke the record of 80 set in that 2001 game. The 134 points broke the record for most by both teams in an overtime game. Akron and Eastern Michigan combined for 127 in a three-overtime game, won 65-62 by Akron in 2001.
To look at it another way, Kentucky and Arkansas combined for 18 more points than their basketball teams did Feb. 19 when the Wildcats won 66-50.
Until the seventh overtime, both teams scored touchdowns in every OT except for the third, when they kicked field goals. In the fourth and sixth overtimes, the teams had successful two-point conversions.
Arkansas had the ball first in the seventh overtime and needed two plays to score on a 25-yard run by DeCori Birmingham. Birmingham, a converted wide receiver forced to play tailback because of injuries, rushed 40 times for a career-high 196 yards and two TDs.
Jason Peters caught a two-point conversion from Matt Jones after Birmingham's touchdown. Kentucky had fourth and 3 at the 5, but Lorenzen failed to make a first down and fumbled on a keeper.
"I guess this is one for the record books," Lorenzen said. "It's just an instant classic."
BCS PROJECTIONS: Oklahoma ended any debate about who is the top team. But in the world of the BCS, it is as important to determine who is second. Virginia Tech's 31-7 thrashing of Miami opened the door for the one-loss teams and kicked off a month of chaos as teams fight for a berth in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship.
USC, Florida State, LSU, Virginia Tech, Miami and Ohio State are the one-loss teams fighting for second. And if those teams somehow lose, a two-loss team like Michigan or Georgia could have a shot. When the new BCS standings are released today, USC is projected to have a comfortable lead over Florida State for No. 2, according to expert Jerry Palm. Miami, Ohio State, Virginia Tech and LSU should follow.
WEST VIRGINIA: Quarterback Charles Hales might make his first career start Saturday at Boston College if Rasheed Marshall isn't fully recovered from a concussion. Marshall sustained a mild concussion in a 36-18 win over Central Florida. He is listed as day to day. Marshall was sandwiched between two UCF players after slipping on a wet field during a run midway through the third quarter. He did not return.