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Top 10 Plays of 2016: No. 1 - Grant Haley Returns A Field Goal Blocked By Marcus Allen For A Touchdown Against Ohio State

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The 2016 Big Ten Championship football season was full of big hits, breakaway runs, circus-like catches, and overall jaw-dropping plays. As a gear up to the highly anticipated 2017 season, we at Black Shoe Diaries have ranked our ten favorite and most impactful plays of last season. The dramatic conclusion: some “fluke” special teams play in a White Out against Ohio State.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

John Reid couldn't quite reel in an interception on third down. As the ball harmlessly tumbled to the ground, the odds for a Penn State victory grew much longer, but a field goal would still keep the deficit within a touchdown. So, even as Ohio State lined up for the attempt, there were reasons for hope, while Tyler Durbin was perfect on the season to that point in the year, this was going to be his longest attempt yet. Then this happened:

This is why people love/hate sports, you get these magical moments just like this. It was when Grant Haley was running somewhere around the 30-yard line that my voice was spent and I was screaming without sound. All I could do was try and simply will Haley just out of the reach of his pursuers and into the end zone from my seat and as the linesman came sliding in to signal touchdown, there was an explosion of joy everywhere in the stands.

Some people think the play and, by extension, the game was a fluke. That’s, of course, is an ignorant stance. Statistically, yes the game was lopsided, however, Ohio State could never extend the lead out of reach of the Nittany Lions. It should also be noted that Marcus Allen had shot the gap on an earlier field goal and chose incorrectly, so he consulted with Charles Huff before this attempt to determine which gap he should breach. The bounce to Haley was fortunate, but even after the touchdown there was still 4:27 left to play in the game. If he had gotten caught, the offense would have had time to work with, conversely, the defense was now tasked with holding onto new found lead and did so with aplomb.

Oh, and like a beautiful snowflake, you likely won't see it again, since it's now illegal.