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Top 10 Plays of 2016: No. 5 - Saquon Barkley’s Touchdown Catch vs. Wisconsin

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. Up next: Saquon Barkley’s touchdown reception against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Wisconsin vs Penn State Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We’re now more than halfway through out countdown of the top 10 Penn State Football plays of 2016, and this is the first appearance of the team’s most spectacular player. You know what that means: If you enjoy Saquon Barkley highlights, you’re going to be seeing more of them this week, starting with the catch that gave the Nittany Lions their first lead in December’s Big Ten Championship Game.

It took a while for Penn State’s offense to get going against Wisconsin, as the Badgers jumped out to a 28-7 lead and appeared ready to run away with the Rose Bowl bid. However, the Lions would steal momentum before the half with a touchdown pass from Trace McSorley to Saeed Blacknall that started a run of four straight Penn State touchdowns.

The streak culminated early in the fourth quarter with James Franklin’s team facing a 2nd-and-10 from the Wisconsin 18-yard line. The Badgers’ blitz got to McSorley quickly, but not before he spotted a mismatch in the man-to-man coverage. Barkley was running a wheel route against Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt, and while Watt was close to Barkley when McSorley released his throw, the tailback had sprinted well beyond the coverage by the time he caught the ball in the corner of the end zone.

With the score now 35-31, that would be the last score the Lions would need to put away a Wisconsin team that struggled to score against Penn State’s defense in the second half. One possession after Barkley’s touchdown reception, Tyler Davis kicked a field goal to extend the lead to seven and put the game in the hands of the defense.

Just in case you forgot, the end of this game was very exciting, but I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more about it later this week.