Down three points late in the fourth quarter of the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State was in Michigan State territory, needing just two yards on fourth down to keep its title hopes alive.
The ball was snapped, Braxton Miller swept to the right side, and the perimeter blockers opened a clear path for a potential burst to the end zone.
But Jeff Heuerman’s man broke free on the interior, surged into the backfield and stopped Miller short of the conversion.
Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes were largely outplayed by a more determined team that night, but one play could have swung the momentum—and a conference title—their way.
Will something that small prevent Ohio State from winning a Big Ten title in 2014?
It’s possible. Despite the months of training, preparation and game-planning, one play could make or break a season. That’s usually the way it goes for the true contenders. Elite teams—such as the 2002 Ohio State squad that won a national title—overcome their bigger obstacles or deficiencies and come through with a big play in crunch time.
What big issues are standing in the way of Ohio State’s Big Ten title chances this year?
Braxton Miller’s Durability
Ohio State’s superstar quarterback has had an injury-plagued career in Columbus.
In 2011, the Buckeyes had a 21-point lead midway through the third quarter against Nebraska when Miller rolled his ankle. He was unable to finish the game, and the…