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For me, college sports has always been a favorite of mine.  As far as I’m concerned, the pride and tradition of college sports can’t be beaten.  It’s sometimes hard to explain, but I think it’s the dedication and passion that really separates college athletics from its professional counterpart.  With college sports, players aren’t blinded by dollar signs and lucrative contracts like professional athletes.  Rather, they’re driven by the raw passion and the love they have for the game.

With the much anticipated winter break just around the corner and final exams quickly approaching, the year is officially coming to a close.  But as we slowly begin our transition from college football to basketball, it’s time once again to reminisce about the moments that made 2013 a year to remember in the world of college sports.  This is our roundup of the top moments in college sports for 2013.  Check out to see if your team made the list!

10. Nebraska’s Prayer

In what proved to be a much closer game than many anticipated, the Nebraska Cornhuskers pulled off one of the greatest plays of the entire college football season worthy of a spot on our top 10.  It was November 2nd and the Wildcats and Huskers found themselves in a nail biter in Lincoln as a winner wouldn’t emerge until the final minute of play.  On the last play of the game, Huskers quarterback, Ron Kellogg, launched a 49-yard bomb towards the end zone as time expired only to be tipped right into the hands of Nebraska wideout Jordan Westerkamp for the win.  It was an absolutely incredible play that left you speechless and wanting more.  To leave this play off of our countdown would simply be a crime.

9. A Shocking Performance

Wichita State Shockers vs Gonzaga Basketball March 23 2013
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Unlike the rest of our countdown, this feat made our list not because of a singular moment but rather one unbelievable run towards a championship.  The Wichita State Shockers first upset no. 1-seed Gonzaga on March 23rd and then knocked off  no. 2-seed Ohio State a week later on March 30th on their way to the Final Four and one of the most memorable runs in NCAA history.  And let’s not forget, they only lost to Louisville–who eventually won the championship–by four points.  Considering how talented all three of those teams were, it speaks volume to the talent and dedication Wichita State displayed throughout the tournament.  This moment highlights everything we love about college sports: passion, drive and perseverance.  And for that reason, it deserves a spot on our countdown.

8. Give Me Ten

Messiah College Soccer
(Photo via Messiah)

For the second straight season, the Messiah men’s soccer team captured the Division III National Championship.  The Falcons claimed their second consecutive title on December 7th with a 2-1 OT victory over the Rutgers-Camden Scarlet Raptors (talk about a sweet mascot name).  Junior midfielder Jeremy Payne notched the game-winner in double OT off a low-driven cross by NSCAA National Player of the Year Josh Wood.  The win marked the Falcon’s fifth national championship in the past six seasons.  Just to put their dominance into perspective, Messiah has claimed ten national championships since the 2000 season and have never lost in the championship game in the history of the program.  I think the term dynasty is an understatement

7. Welcome to Dunk City

Florida Gulf Coast vs. Georgetown March 22, 2013
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

One of the biggest story lines of the 2013 Men’s College Basketball Tournament was the arrival of Florida Gulf Coast–or more commonly referred to as “Dunk City”.  FGCU burst onto the scene after their improbable run to the Sweet Sixteen where they eventually fell to Florida, 50-62.  The brightest moment of their season came in their second round upset of no. 2-seed Georgetown on March 22nd, 78-68.  The Eagles became only the seventh no. 15-seed to knock off a no. 2-seed in NCAA history.  Even though FGCU busted a lot of brackets (including my own), you couldn’t help but take notice of such an amazing feat. Just to put the their run in perspective, the Eagles’ had only played six seasons at the Division I level.  Consider your mind blown.

6. Penn State Knocks Off Michigan in 4 OTs

Michigan vs. Penn State October 12, 2013
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

In one of the best games of the year, Penn State knocked off 18th-ranked Michigan on October 12th in Happy Valley 43-40.  In case you didn’t get a chance to watch this game, man did you miss out big time.  You couldn’t ask for a more epic game even if you tried.  It’s nearly impossible to pick one moment from this game so we’re just going to go with the entire game.  Between the missed kicks and late mistakes, you almost thought it would never end–not that we wanted it to anyway.  Amongst the constant back-and-forth, there was one moment that you can’t help but remember and you know exactly what play I’m talking about.  None other than Christian Hackenberg’s 37-yard bomb to Allen Robinson that set up a Nittany Lions’ touchdown to send the game into overtime.  But you want to talk about sensational?  Just look at what Hackenberg did during that final game-tying drive, it still sends chills down my spine, all the criteria you need to make our list.

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Chris Pumphrey is a recent grad from Drew University, where he studied Political Science and History. A former soccer player, Chris loves all things sports-related and spends most of his time watching ESPN. If he's not talking politics, he's most likely to be found anywhere an Orioles game is happening.

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