Heisman Watch Week 13: Johnny Manziel, Manti Te’o Cap Off Strong Seasons
Collin Klein and Kansas State were off this weekend, readying for a season-ending showdown that could decide whether the Wildcats can claim a BCS bowl berth or not. The Heisman, which seemed Klein’s to take if he could continue to lead the nation’s No. 1 team, slipped from the senior’s hands before Kansas State dropped its first game of the season last weekend, but truly was out of his control once Johnny Manziel appear on the scene. With one game left, Klein has still put up gaudy numbers — rushing for 20 touchdowns and throwing for 14 more while accounting for more than 3,000 yards of total offense.
Johnny Manziel’s redshirt freshman season came to a close Saturday with a dominating performance against Missouri in Texas A&M’s impressive season-ending win over Missouri. In the Aggies’s 59-29 win, Manziel passed for three touchdowns and threw for two to go with 439 yards of combined offensive output. In the process, Manziel finished the 2012 season with the most total offense created by an SEC quarterback in conference history. Manziel’s redshirt freshman season bested the likes of Tim Tebow and Cam Newton, two Heisman winners in those years. Could Manziel be next on the list?
Catching passes from a quarterback other than Matt Barkley resulted in a somewhat down game from Lee in USC’s regular season-ending loss to Notre Dame. Lee went without a touchdown for the first time since a mid-October loss to Washington. His five catches netted him 75 yards, also his lowest production since the loss to the Huskies. Lee finishes the season with an impressive 14 touchdowns to go with more than 1,600 yards receiving.
Manti Te’o might not have had the best game of his season against USC on Saturday night, but his performance in perhaps the most important game the Fighting Irish have played in the BCS era will probably be enough to net him an invite to New York City for the trophy presentation. His interception on a pass from USC quarterback Max Wittek was his highlight of the night and gave him seven on the season, best among linebackers in the nation. With his season complete, Te’o can claim the title of the most visible player on the best team in the country, usually a big factor in Heisman voting.
Much like Manti Te’o, Braxton Miller helped his team cap an undefeated season with a victory over a traditional rival in a nationally televised game. Unlike Te’o, however, Miller will not get a shot at the national title game, or even a shot at a BCS bowl, given Ohio State’s ineligibility. But leading an ineligible team to an undefeated season should get Miller some real recognition. Whether that means an invite to NYC for the trophy presentation or not, it will certainly get Miller at or near the top of most watch lists for next season, along with Manziel and others. Against Michigan, Miller was an efficient 14 of 18 for 189 yards and 57 rushing yards.
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