ESPN’s top games: WMU’s 7OT win 3rd; MSU 3OT loss 18th

The Detroit News

Six victories weren’t enough to get Western Michigan into a bowl game, but one of them is good enough to be considered one of the best of the season.

Western Michigan’s marathon seven-overtime 71-68 victory over Buffalo on Oct. 7 ranks No. 3 among ESPN’s top college football games of the 2017 season, posted Wednesday.

“Running back Jarvion Franklin’s touchdown lifted Western Michigan to victory in a record-tying seven overtime periods with a record-breaking 139 total points,” ESPN’s Jake Trotter wrote. “Adding to the wackiness, the sister of Western Michigan tight end Donnie Ernsberger was initially flagged for running onto the field to celebrate her brother’s TD during the first OT period.”

The Broncos finished the season at 6-6, a season after reaching the Cotton Bowl as an unbeaten.

Michigan State also made ESPN’s list, for a game it’d rather forget — its 39-31 triple-overtime loss to Northwestern on Oct. 28 checks in at No. 18.

The game included an 88-yard scoring drive by the Spartans to send the game to overtime, but also two missed field goals from Matt Coghlin that hit the uprights.

“Despite having 30 stitches on his hand, Northwestern linebacker Nate Hall came down with an interception to give the Wildcats a triple-overtime victory, “Trotter writes. “Michigan State had scored a touchdown with 25 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. But Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson’s 22-yard touchdown pass on third down in the third overtime period proved to be the winning score.”

Michigan State recovered from that loss to finish the regular season at 9-3, and earn a berth in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Diego, where it will play Washington State.

UCLA’s 45-44 victory over Texas A&M, which included a 34-point comeback, topped ESPN’s rankings, followed by Ohio State’s 39-38 come-from-behind victory over Penn State.