All this week, we've been looking back at some of the most iconic plays in the Big Ten over the past decade. All were memorable. Some are so important and unforgettable that they're forever ingrained in our collective consciousness.
Which brings us to the very top. Here are our choices for the five most iconic plays involving a Big Ten team since 2006:
No. 1: 85 yards through the heart of the South, Jan. 1, 2015
Ohio State was clinging to a six-point lead late in the fourth quarter of the College Football Playoff semifinal against Alabama, and had been stuck in a field-position hole for what seemed like ages. With one run, Ezekiel Elliott flipped everything -- the field, the national championship picture and the entire perception of the Big Ten.
Elliott's 85-yard touchdown dash -- aided, let's not forget, by a massive block from wide receiver Evan Spencer -- takes the top spot on our iconic plays list because no other one reverberated so fully throughout college football. It's a play Ohio State fans will be talking about and reliving for generations to come.
No. 2: Michigan State's miracle in the Big House, Oct. 18, 2015
OK, so perhaps recency bias is involved here with us choosing a play from just last season at No. 2. Then again, when have you ever seen a finish like this one?
Michigan had a 23-21 lead with 10 seconds to go when it chose to punt on fourth-and-2 from the Michigan State 47-yard line. (Wolverines fans, feel free to skip this next part -- uh, actually maybe go on to a different post. We'll understand.). Then the unthinkable happened, as punter Blake O'Neill bobbled the snap, tried to recover but instead pushed it toward the arms of the Spartans' Jalen Watts-Jackson, who returned it all the way for the winning touchdown.
That this happened in a heated rivalry, with playoff and Big Ten title implications on the line, made this play even more remarkable -- no matter what year it happened.
No. 3: Appalachian State's blocked kick heard 'round the world, Sept. 1, 2007
It has been called the biggest upset in the history of college football. Appalachian State, then an FCS team, opened the 2007 season by upsetting No. 5 Michigan in the Big House. The 34-32 victory was sealed when Corey Lynch blocked Michigan's 37-yard field goal attempt on the game's final play, setting off pandemonium among the Mountaineers and stunned silence from Wolverines fans everywhere.
The play, and the win, helped set in motion both Lloyd Carr's exit from Michigan and Appalachian State's ascension to the FBS.
No. 4: "Little Giants" shocks Notre Dame, Sept. 18, 2010
The 2010 Michigan State-Notre Dame game was already a great one, as the two teams went into overtime tied at 28. The Irish kicked a field goal on their first possession of overtime, and the Spartans lined up for a 46-yarder after they got to fourth down on their overtime try.
But head coach Mark Dantonio was ready to end the game right there. He called for a trick play, which he nicknamed "Little Giants" after the kids sports movie, and holder Aaron Bates threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt for the win. Dantonio was hospitalized shortly after the game following a heart attack.
No. 5: Spartans' "Rocket" burns Badgers, Oct. 22, 2011
College GameDay was on hand for an important Big Ten game between Wisconsin and Michigan State in 2011, and the contest more than delivered. A back-and-forth game saw the Badgers tie the score at 31 on a touchdown with 1:26 left. The game looked headed to overtime until Kirk Cousins heaved a pass from Wisconsin's 44-yard line on the final play. The ball bounced off Michigan State wide receiver B.J. Cunningham's facemask in the end zone and back to teammate Keith Nichol, who secured the catch and then wrestled his way through two defenders past the goal line. The play was dubbed "Rocket."
The incredible finish -- replay officials determined it was a touchdown after a lengthy review -- highlighted the first of two classics between these teams in 2011. Wisconsin got revenge in the Big Ten title game later that season and created its own iconic play (No. 6) in the process. We were all winners for having witnessed these plays.