Plays were included based on their importance in the game, how memorable they were and the "wow" factor associated with each. A number of plays that were just shy of the top 10 also receive honorable mention.
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10. Ray Small's punt return touchdown vs. Ohio, Sept. 6
The Buckeyes struggled all day against Ohio University during their prep game for the USC contest, but any drama on the day was snuffed out when Small took a punt at his own 31-yard line, dashed upfield and outraced the entire Bobcat team to the end zone. The score increased what was a slim 19-14 lead for the Buckeyes into what would be the final margin of 26-14.
9. Terrelle Pryor's 56-yard pass to Brian Hartline vs. Michigan State, Oct. 18
Ohio State put the pedal to the floor early against Michigan State, turning what was supposed to be a showdown game with the No. 20 Spartans into a 45-7 rout. Though Ohio State had already jumped out to a 14-0 lead when this play happened, the long toss encapsulated how badly things were going for MSU.
With 3:00 to go in the opening quarter and on the first play of a drive starting at Ohio State's 43, Pryor dropped back to pass and found Hartline behind the Spartans' defense. The junior leapt and caught the ball between safeties Danny Fortener and Otis Wiley at the 24-yard line and then surprisingly kept his balance and raced upfield as the two defenders collided. The play was originally called a touchdown but was changed when replays showed Chris L. Rucker brought Hartline down at the 1-yard line. It didn't matter much, as Chris Wells plowed into the end zone on the next play.
8. Chris Wells' touchdown run vs. Michigan, Nov. 22
Ohio State fans waited breathlessly for the Buckeyes to break through against their rivals, as the Scarlet and Gray's first four drives ended without points. Finally, their hopes were answered on the first play of the team's fifth drive as Beanie took a handoff from Pryor, went right, picked up blocks and then burst through the line for a 59-yard touchdown that opened the scoring. It served as Wells' third run of more than 50 yards for a touchdown in his career against the Wolverines.
7. Malcolm Jenkins' interception vs. Purdue, Oct. 11
The highest ranked defensive play of the year receives its spot simply because of Jenkins' unbelievable athleticism, attitude and skill. The Thorpe Award-winning cornerback was late getting back onto the field as Purdue prepared to begin the second quarter snapping the ball from its 21-yard line. He was nearly even with the center and racing toward the far sideline when Curtis Painter received the snap. As Painter rolled right, Jenkins ran into a Purdue player, losing his balance, but he recovered and continued on the play, eventually intercepting a Painter pass at the Boilermakers' 30-yard line.
6. Boom Herron's touchdown run against Texas, Jan. 5
Herron's run gave the Buckeyes a 21-17 lead with 2:05 to go and would have stood as the game winner had Ohio State held on. With the ball at the 15, Pryor handed it off over left end to Herron, who received good blocking and then cut inside to make Texas safety Blake Gideon miss. As he raced into the end zone, Herron, who was in the game because of an injury to Wells, had appeared to give the Buckeyes a stunning comeback win.
5. Terrelle Pryor's touchdown run against Wisconsin, Oct. 4
The Buckeyes were in trouble against the Badgers in Madison until Pryor came to the rescue, marching the squad 80 yards in 12 plays after taking over down 17-13 with six-and-a-half minutes left. His final play was the best, as Pryor ran the option left, faked a pitch to Wells and then cut upfield to scamper into the end zone from 11 yards out. The defense held and the Buckeyes escaped the Madhouse with a 20-17 win.
4. Chris Wells and Dan Herron march the team 91 yards in two plays vs. Michigan, Nov. 22
Choosing two plays is cheating a bit, but these two plays forever will be linked because they helped Ohio State blow open what had been a close game with the Maize and Blue up until that point. The Buckeyes took over possession for the first drive of the second half up 14-7 and at their own 9-yard line. On the first play, Wells went over the left side, found a hole and sprinted down the sideline until going out of bounds at the Michigan 49 having totaled 42 yards. He reinjured his leg on the play, but Herron stepped in, took a handoff on the next play and outraced the defense for a touchdown that made the score 21-7.
3. Chris Wells' touchdown run against Northwestern, Nov. 8
The Buckeyes and Wildcats went into the second quarter with the score tied at 7, but that didn't last long thanks to a run by Wells that was a testament to his will. On a play that began at his own 45-yard line, Wells was given the ball but seemed to be stuffed in the backfield thanks to penetration by the Wildcats defense. But Beanie kept his feet moving and plowed forward, emerging from the pile on what seemed like a sure loss and then racing up the right sideline with plenty of space. He slowed down only to stiff arm Jordan Mabin at the 5 before hitting paydirt to give OSU a 14-7 lead it would not relinquish.
2. Todd Boeckman's touchdown pass to Terrelle Pryor vs. Texas, Jan. 5
Ohio State fans – and Texas fans and coaches – had heard about the Buckeyes' plan going into the Fiesta Bowl to use two quarterbacks on the field at the same time, but no one could have expected the trick Jim Tressel pulled out of his bag with Ohio State trailing 17-9 midway through the fourth quarter. With the ball at the 5-yard line, Boeckman lined up under center and Pryor was split out wide to the right. Boeckman took the snap and lofted a fade to the deep right corner of the end zone that Pryor skied to catch to make the score 17-15.
1. Chris Wells' hurdle of Illinois' Donsay Hardeman, Nov. 15
There's little doubt that Wells' unbelievable leap is the No. 1 play of the year for the Buckeyes. Live, the play left onlookers with their jaws on the ground, and it was a staple of highlight shows and year in review shows all year. Starting at his own 30-yard line on the fourth play of the second half and OSU ahead, Wells took off over the right side before encountering Hardeman near the 40-yard line. The junior quickly weighed his options and decided to hurdle Hardeman, who could only flap his elbow as Wells went by. Wells made it to the Illinois 45 before being brought down.
Honorable mention plays: Shaun Lane's fumble recovery against Ohio that set up the eventual game-winning touchdown; Pryor's second-quarter touchdown pass under pressure to Hartline against Troy; Wells' hurdle of Kyle Theret against Minnesota; Wells' early touchdown run against Wisconsin; Jenkins' game-clinching interception against Wisconsin in the fourth quarter; Jenkins' blocked punt that Etienne Sabino returned for a touchdown against Purdue; Kurt Coleman's forced fumble against Michigan State that Donald Washington returned 44 yards to set up a touchdown; James Laurinaitis' bone-crunching hit on MSU quarterback Brian Hoyer; Coleman's spectacular diving interception against the Spartans; Jenkins' forced fumble on Hoyer that Thaddeus Gibson returned for a touchdown to clinch the MSU win; Pryor's long pass to Dane Sanzenbacher during the Penn State game; Tyler Moeller's forced fumble on Juice Williams that Nader Abdallah recovered to set up an early touchdown against Illinois; Jenkins' blocked punt safety against the Fighting Illini; Coleman's drive-thwarting interception of Williams against Illinois; Pryor's 53-yard touchdown pass to Hartline against Michigan; Ray Small's punt return that set up the Buckeyes' fourth touchdown against the Wolverines; Anderson Russell's interception of Colt McCoy on the goal line late in the first half against Texas; Boeckman's long pass to Brian Robiskie on the first play of the fourth quarter against the Longhorns that got the Buckeyes back into the game.