2012 Heisman watch: Manti Te'o and Johnny Manziel make it a two-man race

Jeff Gross

Both Manti Te'o and Johnny Manziel have made their claim for the Heisman. Who will take home the hardware on Dec. 8?

The quest for the 2012 Heisman Trophy will likely come down to two men: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.

Johnny Manziel added to an already impressive Heisman candidacy Saturday with 372 yards and three touchdowns passing and 67 yards and two touchdowns rushing against the Missouri Tigers. He holds a clear advantage over fellow Heisman-hopeful quarterbacks, such as Kansas State's Collin Klein, Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Clemson's Tajh Boyd. But how does he compare to a linebacker?

Manti Te'o has made a strong case for himself as well. The best player on the nation's top team, Te'o's candidacy is comprised of both individual stats and team accomplishments. Individually, Te'o has 103 tackles and seven interceptions. More importantly, however, Te'o is the heart of the nation's second-best defense, and he proved that fact again on Saturday. The Fighting Irish stopped USC on the goal line twice in the fourth quarter Saturday night, with the second goal-line stand including four plays from the Notre Dame 1-yard line. Behind Te'o, the Fighting Irish are headed to the National Championship game.

Te'o would be the first Heisman recipient to strictly play defense, as 1997 winner Charles Woodson played cornerback and special teams as a punt returner.

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