I guess I didn't want the first half of the Big Ten season to get lost in the upcoming scramble for BCS bowls and conference titles. So I compiled the most important plays from the Big Ten so far, plays that changed the course of seasons and made stars or goats out of 20 year old men. Here are #11 through #7...
I realize some lesser known plays would technically and logically be more "important" (for instance, Pryor getting sacked against USC late in the 4th quarter, forcing a punt instead of Buckeye points, is pretty damn important)...But I picked some plays that were a bit more highlight reel friendly. Sorry, I'm a product of the Sportscenter generation.
#11 - Eric Decker's Bloody TD Catch v. Cali
Impressive against Syracuse, it seemed Weber to Decker would be a force to be reckoned with early this year. That notion was solidified when Decker skied to pull in a touchdown and was obliterated by a Cal safety. The image of blood dripping down his face as he sat stunned on the sideline was timeless. White receivers everywhere rejoiced, knowing they could still compete on a D1 level. Not only did Decker give these poor souls hope, he instantly created a highlight to submit to the Biletnikoff Award committee.
Make sure to go back and submit your picks for Week 8 of the Obligatory Predictions Contest. Weekly winners get a chance to write 500 words on the site. NEW this year is our season long competition - win the whole damn thing and we send you something amazing.
#10 - Ray Fischer and Jeremiha Hunter Preserve Big Ten Dignity With Clutch Defensive Plays
Indiana almost began its season with a loss to FCS contestant Eastern Kentucky. In the fourth quarter, the EKU quarterback was stumbling towards the endzone to score a go-ahead touchdown. Out of nowhere, the speedy and hard nosed Fischer smacked the ball carrier, causing a fumble and ending the Colonials last threat. Phew.
Iowa almost started its season the same way. As Northern Iowa lined up for ANOTHER game-winning field goal, thousands of Iowa City citizens held there breath. Never fear, said Mr. Hunter as he pawed away the field goal. And now the Hawkeyes sit at #6 in the country. That's what I call an impact play.
#9 - Tate Forcier Beats ND, Hyperbole Machine Revs Up to Tebow-esque Heights
A 30 yard touchdown run on 4th and short, complete with Playstation juke on linebacker? Yes sir. A cold as ice game winning drive in said players third collegiate game? Check.
#8 - A Perfect Onside Kick Breaks the Natural Order of Things in Mid-Michigan
I was sitting in the West bleachers watching the CMU kicker line up his onside kick. Down 27-26, the Chippewa's would need a miraculous recovery, which is exactly what they got. I've talked to many people who were there and 90% of them swear they've never seen a better onside kick. The ball skipped low on the turf, end over end, until it hopped perfectly over the Spartan hands team into the waiting arms of a Chip. MAC POTY candidate Dan LeFevour predictably led Central into field goal range and the game winner threw the Maroon clad section into hysteria. Michigan State, the media's choice for third best Big Ten team, had picked up an early season defeat and the MAC proved dangerous for a second straight year.
#7 - Stefon Johnson Cements Another Big Game Loss For OSU
The Ohio State defense had proved up to the task, holding the physical USC run game in check and smacking Matt Barkley around. The offense and Pryor - that was another story. Either way, USC had summoned the energy to drive late on the stingy Buckeye defense. On first and goal, Johnson sprinted untouched in to the right side of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. This was the back breaker - I don't think many people believed TP (in the midst of a dastardly 11-25, 175 yard, 1 INT performance) could lead the Bucks on a comeback drive.