South Florida beat Illinois 47-23 on Friday night. This doesn't mean much by itself. The Illini are painfully young and not very good. Beating them doesn't do much for South Florida's hopes at a New Year's Six bowl even though Illinois is a Big Ten program. 

However, these two teams played what could possibly be the ugliest game of the 2017 season. It's only Week 3, but it's going to be hard to contend with a game that featured 31 penalties. 

Yes, you read that correctly: 31 penalties, 26 of which occurred in the first half. That is a record, according to the ESPN broadcast of the game.

For the morbidly curious, this did not beat the record for combined penalties in a single game, though it did come close. The FBS record for most penalties in a single game is 36 between San Jose State and Fresno State in 1986. The NCAA record, as far as we can tell, is 42 in a game. 

In all, there were 13 different types of penalties with eight false starts leading the way. There were also two targeting penalties -- one on each team -- that resulted in ejections. USF had the most penalties with 16 for 155 yards, while Illinois had 15 penalties for 138 yards. They were equal opportunity offenders. 

Here's how the 31 accepted penalties broke down ... 


False start




Unsportsmanlike conduct


Pass interference


Face mask




Roughing the passer/targeting


Personal foul, delay of game, illegal shift, 12 men, substitution, clipping

1 each