Coming into Notre Dame’s game against Oklahoma, Manti Te’o was thought to be a favorite to make the finals list of Heisman Trophy candidates. However, this amazing diving interception not only locked up the Irish’s victory over the Sooners, it also locked up Te’o’s chances to be a Heisman finalist.
As you can see in the video, Te’o had a little bit of luck in being able to make this highlight-reel catch.
If it isn’t for his teammate, Dan Fox, hitting Oklahoma receiver Jalen Saunders, then the ball wouldn’t have popped out for Te’o to make the diving catch. However, Te’o’s awareness of what is going on around him and his agility took center stage when the ball fluttered in the air.
The play wasn’t without some controversy as it looked like Te’o could have dropped the ball during the transition after he fell to the ground.
He does bobble it in his arms and legs while making the transition from diving to hitting the ground and then back to his feet.
But, as you can tell, the ball never touches the ground—only his arms, knees and then into his chest.
The play capped off what was a dominating night with 11 tackles, one sack and that one interception that will be front and center when his Heisman highlight reel is shown.
If Te’o can continue this stretch of 10-or-more tackles while forcing turnovers, then he will continue to put pressure on quarterbacks like Geno Smith, Braxton Miller and current favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, Collin Klein.
If that happens then we can point to this diving interception as the play that sent him to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.