Heisman Watch 2012: Breaking Down Each Finalist's Impact on Team's Season

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 7, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies looks to pass during their game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on November 24, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Whether you are into offense or defense, 2012's Heisman finalists offer a little bit of everything.

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Kansas State's Collin Klein had tremendous seasons under center while Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o led a dominant defense.

Each player made an impact on his team's season in his own special way, and each player is worthy of being a finalist.

Here's a look at the impact that 2012's Heisman finalists made for their respective teams.


Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

While Texas A&M had two losses on the season, if you're looking for the player who had the biggest impact on his team, Johnny Manziel may be that man.

The freshman affectionately known as "Johnny Football" was a historic dual-threat quarterback this season, becoming one of only five players in FBS history to pass for at least 3,000 yards and rush for at least 1,000 yards (and the first freshman and SEC player to do so). He also broke the SEC record for offensive production, surpassing former Heisman winners Cam Newton and Tim Tebow.

But perhaps what will always be remembered is what Manziel did to Alabama on Nov. 10. Just three weeks after getting beaten down by LSU, the freshman went off against the Crimson Tide, passing for 253 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 92 yards in the 29-24 upset.

The Aggies won their last five games of the season and will play in the Cotton Bowl.


Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

Manti Te'o was the driving force behind Notre Dame's fearsome defense in 2012, as the Fighting Irish allowed 10.3 points per game (best in the nation) and finished the regular season undefeated.

He had a team-high 103 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and seven interceptions (tied for second in the nation, first among linebackers).

He also stepped up in big games, including the 30-13 upset of Oklahoma on Oct. 27. In that game, he posted 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one interception.

Notre Dame also allowed 3.16 yards per carry (11th in the nation) and two rushing touchdowns (best) under Te'o's watch, via CFBStats.com. Stanford's Stepfan Taylor was held to 3.6 yards per carry in Notre Dame's 20-13 overtime victory on Oct. 13.

Notre Dame wouldn't be going to the BCS National Championship Game without Te'o.


Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

Collin Klein appeared to be running away with the Heisman before Manziel's performance against Alabama and Kansas State's crippling loss to Baylor on Nov. 17.

Still, the senior led the Wildcats to the an 11-1 record, a Big 12 title and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

He averaged 9.2 yards per pass attempt (sixth in the nation) while tossing 15 touchdowns to seven interceptions, and he rushed for 895 yards and 22 touchdowns.

He made a big impact, whether it be with his arm or his legs, against ranked opponents Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas.


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