Stanford vs. Notre Dame: Breaking Down Manti Te'o's Heisman Moment

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 13, 2012

We're not here to talk about the controversial play at the end, where it appeared that Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor had crossed the goal line. We are going to talk about a possible Heisman candidate who had his Heisman moment in another Notre Dame victory.

This time, it took place against Stanford, as the Irish won the game in overtime by a score of 20-13.

All game long, it seemed like the college football gods were out to hand this team a loss.

The offense couldn't move the football, quarterback Everett Golson left the matchup with a possible concussion and Stanford continued to find a way to keep up with this Top 10 team in South Bend. While many expected a blowout, the game needed extra time to be decided.

The Irish had the lead, but the Cardinal were looking to tie the game up, as the team was driving the football near the end zone.

And then, it happened.

On 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Stanford handed the ball off to Taylor just like it had done the previous three plays. He tried to jump over the pile, and it appeared he was going to land in the end zone and send this game into a second overtime.

Not so fast, my friends.

Senior linebacker Manti Te'o timed his jump at the exact moment and met Taylor in the air, driving the two-time 1,000-yard rusher backwards and preventing a possible tying touchdown. Everyone in the building knew Stanford was going to run the ball. Stanford made it obvious, Notre Dame knew it and it was a simple test of which line was going to budge that would decide the running back's fate.

Thanks to Te'o, Notre Dame is still sitting pretty with its 6-0 record.

This is what the linebacker has done throughout his entire career, but with the surprising success of Notre Dame this season, his play has caught the attention of a lot more eyeballs.

Everybody is on the Geno Smith Heisman bandwagon, but with the West Virginia Mountaineers losing Saturday to Texas Tech, his stock may have taken a hit. While the Heisman is usually an award that is handed out to explosive offensive players, the Irish simply wouldn't be where they are if it wasn't for their strong defense.

Te'o is a difference-maker and deserves some Heisman credit as college football heads into the home stretch of the season.

Every Heisman winner needs that moment that sticks out in everyone's mind. The play may have been a simple goal-line stand to many, but it was a play that kept Notre Dame's national championship dreams alive, and hopefully, it will put the defensive stud in the Heisman conversation.