Big 12: Manti Te'o

Lunch links: Much to gain at the combine

February, 19, 2013
2/19/13
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I just want to be really clear: Chopsticks is not the measure of a man.

A closer look: AT&T Cotton Bowl

January, 1, 2013
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As the bowl season approaches, we're going to be looking a little closer at each game. We'll go down the Big 12 bowl schedule in chronological order.

No. 11 Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1 Big 12) vs. No. 9 Texas A&M (10-2, 6-2 SEC)

Where: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas

When: Friday, Jan. 4, 8 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

About Oklahoma: The Sooners began the year with some national-title aspirations, but those quickly came to an end with a mistake-filled September loss at home to Kansas State. A midseason loss to Notre Dame made it clear that Oklahoma was not an elite team in 2012, but the eight-game winning streak in Big 12 play after the K-State loss made it clear that the Sooners were a very, very good team -- and a Big 12 champion. The Sooners became part of the first-ever shared Big 12 title and celebrated with a season-ending win at TCU. The final three games of the year (West Virginia, Oklahoma State, TCU) were all decided in the final minute or on the final play, and the Cotton Bowl could very well make it four.

About Texas A&M: While Oklahoma underachieved a bit, the Aggies were one of the nation's biggest overachievers. Last year's team began in the top 10 and fell to 6-6 while losing five games with leads of at least nine points. Year 1 under Kevin Sumlin will forever be remembered as the year the legend of Johnny Manziel was born. The redshirt freshman quarterback burst onto the scene with a strong outing in a season-opening loss to Florida but truly broke out with a memorable performance in a road upset of No. 1 Alabama. The Aggies' defense matured under Mark Snyder, but Texas A&M was one of the nation's hottest teams to close the season.

Sooners to watch: Landry Jones will be making his 50th and final start of his career in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium, the same place where his career began after an injury to Sam Bradford in the 2009 season opener against BYU. He's the NCAA's No. 3 all-time passer and leads the Big 12 in passing yards per game entering the bowl game. He's thrown 29 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions and got to know transfer receivers Jalen Saunders and Justin Brown well this season. Kenny Stills led the team with 897 yards on 75 catches, but keep an eye on leading tackler Tony Jefferson at safety and shutdown corner Aaron Colvin on defense.

Aggies to watch: Surely you know about Manziel by now, but keep an eye on his favorite targets, Mike Evans and Ryan Swope. Evans is a big physical presence at 6-foot-5, 218 pounds, while Swope uses his breakaway speed to work the slot. Defensive end Damontre Moore's 20 tackles for loss would have led the Big 12, and was third in the SEC. He was also the Aggies' leading tackler, with 80 stops. Keep an eye on the Aggies' underrated running back duo, too, Ben Malena and Christine Michael. They combined for almost 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Did you know? Oklahoma is 11-2 against Texas A&M under Bob Stoops, but the Aggies knocked off the Sooners in 2010 in College Station as part of their six-game winning streak to close the regular season. Manziel will be the third Heisman finalist Oklahoma has gone up against this season, but the Sooners are 0-2 against the first two, Kansas State QB Collin Klein and Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o. Oklahoma leads the all-time series between these two, 19-11, but will meet for the first time in the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma hasn't played in the Cotton Bowl since 2002, when it beat Arkansas, 10-3.

More on the Big 12 Bowls:

K-State's Klein a Camp Award finalist

December, 5, 2012
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Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is one of five finalists for the Walter Camp Award, given annually to college football's best player.

He's the lone Big 12 representative, and joined by Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, Oregon RB Kenjon Barner, Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o and USC receiver Marqise Lee.

Klein joined Manziel and Te'o as Heisman finalists after accounting for 37 touchdowns, including a Big 12-best 22 rushing scores and leading Kansas State to an 11-1 record and the school's first Big 12 title since 2003.

Texas' Colt McCoy won the award in 2008 and 2009. Stanford's Andrew Luck won last year. The award is voted on by coaches and sports information directors from around the nation.

10 facts to know about Heisman finalists

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
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US PresswireJohnny Manziel (left), Manti Te’o (center) and Collin Klein are the 2012 Heisman Trophy finalists.

  • Johnny Manziel finished the regular season with 3,419 pass yards and 1,181 rush yards. His 4,600 yards of total offense broke the SEC single-season record set by Cam Newton during his 2010 Heisman Trophy season. When Newton broke the record, he supplanted Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy season of 2007.
  • Manziel has been responsible for 43 touchdowns this season, tied with Tajh Boyd and Jordan Lynch for the most in FBS. He had six games with at least two touchdowns passing and rushing. That's tied with Tebow in 2007 for the most such games in a season since 2000. Collin Klein is tied for second in FBS this season with three such games.
  • Manziel had 70 plays that gained 20 yards or more this season, 10 more than any other FBS player. He was tied for the eighth-most passes (52) and the second-most rushes (18) of 20-plus yards.
  • Manziel gained 784 rush yards on scrambles, the most in the SEC. He had 13 scrambles that gained at least 20 yards, including seven touchdowns. No SEC player had more total rushes or touchdowns of 20-plus yards, let alone scrambles.
  • Klein has scored a rushing touchdown in 11 straight games, the longest active streak in FBS. The only game that he did not have a rushing touchdown was against Missouri State, an FCS opponent. Since the start of last season, Klein has scored a rush TD in 23 straight games against FBS opponents. That is the longest such streak for any player in the last nine seasons.
  • Since the start of last season, Klein has an FBS-best 37 rushing touchdowns in goal-to-go situations. Klein has had at least one such touchdown in 22 of 25 games during that time period, including in his last 10 games in which he has at least one such attempt.
  • Klein has accounted for 69 percent of Kansas State’s yards and 66 percent of its offensive touchdowns this season. Klein’s percentages are slightly better than those of Robert Griffin III from his 2011 Heisman season at Baylor. Griffin accounted for 66 percent of Baylor’s total and 61 percent of its touchdowns.
  • Manti Te'o has seven interceptions this season, tied for second-most in FBS and three more than any other linebacker. Te’o also has two fumble recoveries. His nine total takeaways are tied for the most in nation.
  • Te’o has 103 tackles this season, 42 more than any other player on Notre Dame. He has just two missed tackles all season. As a team, the Irish have missed 61 tackles this season, the third-fewest among AQ schools.
  • Notre Dame leads the nation in scoring defense (10.3 PPG) and is the only team that has not given up a touchdown drive longer than 75 yards this season. Every other FBS team has allowed at least three.

Lunch links: How are Big 12 bowls selling?

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
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Vote in our poll, y'all.

The final Big 12 Heisman Watch of 2012

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
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The Heisman finalists have been announced, and the greatest individual award in sports will be handed out at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, live on ESPN.

Let's take one last look at the Big 12's best hope to bring home the award:

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: It might be an uphill battle for Klein to unseat fellow finalists Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o, but simply getting the invitation to New York is a big accomplishment. He has carried the Wildcats to the Big 12 title, and no player in the league has been more important to his team's success. You could definitely make the case that no player in the nation has been more important to his team's success, too. Klein has accounted for 37 touchdowns, 890 rushing yards and 2,490 passing yards. His efforts this season helped K-State surpass modest expectations, and he matured as a passer more than most gave him credit for. Win or lose Saturday night, my hat is off to Klein.

Here's how I voted in the ESPN Heisman Watch this week:
  1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR/PR, West Virginia

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is one of three finalists for the Heisman who will travel to New York this week for Saturday night's trophy presentation.

Klein is joined by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.

The finalists were unveiled on Monday night's "SportsCenter" by former winner Ty Detmer.

Klein completed 180 of 272 passes (66.2 percent) for 2,485 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions for Kansas State, which went 11-1 this season and won the Big 12 for the first time since 2003. That sent the Wildcats to the Fiesta Bowl, where they'll face Oregon.

Klein rushed for 895 yards on 194 carries (4.61 average) and 22 touchdowns. His 22 rushing scores are tied for second most nationally, and Klein's passer rating of 156.28 is good for 16th nationally.

Klein is the Big 12's second consecutive Heisman finalist. Baylor's Robert Griffin III won the award last season.

K-State LB Brown a Lott Trophy finalist

November, 29, 2012
11/29/12
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Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown is one of four finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, given annually to college football's best defensive player.

The award is given to the player who best displays character of the acronym "IMPACT," which stands for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Brown is joined by Georgia LB Jarvis Jones, Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o and Stanford LB Chase Thomas on the list of finalists.

The Miami transfer and Wichita, Kan., native leads the team with 80 tackles, with six for loss and one sack. He also has five pass breakups and two interceptions.

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 14

November, 27, 2012
11/27/12
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We're down to the final weekend of the season, and it's time to survey the Big 12's best Heisman hopes with only four games left in the entire Big 12 regular season.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein was off this week, but he's got one last chance to convince voters he's better than Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel. I'm not sure what it would take, but I know it would have to be a lot better than what we've seen from Klein in his past two outings against TCU and Baylor. He has been in a bit of a slump since suffering an injury against Oklahoma State.

2. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR/PR, West Virginia: I don't think Austin has a great shot to get to New York, but you can't convince me he doesn't have an argument as the most dangerous man in college football. That's just a fact. I gave him a fifth-place vote on my ballot this week after he broke open Saturday's win over Iowa State with a 75-yard touchdown on a short touch pass, simply outrunning the entire ISU defense. He can't win, but it stinks that his candidacy is hampered because his defense is horrible. Even when Geno Smith struggled, Austin continued to play well.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR/PR, West Virginia

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 13

November, 20, 2012
11/20/12
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Here are the Big 12's best hopes to bring home the Heisman.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein's Heisman hopes are on life support after a three-interception outing and a blowout loss to four-win Baylor on Saturday night. His completion percentage was his second lowest of the season. Klein hadn't thrown more than 28 passes in a game all season. He threw 50 against Baylor. He also rushed for a season-low 39 yards. He's still likely to receive an invitation to New York barring another bad game against Texas, but he needs a whole lot of help to have any chance of winning.

2. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR, West Virginia: His versatility is what might land him in New York with a big finish, and if he can switch positions and set the Big 12 record for all-purpose yards in his first game at running back with a simplified playbook, he might provide that big finish against Iowa State and Kansas. He lacks a marquee game, and West Virginia is mired in a five-game losing streak, but he nearly broke the NCAA single-game record for all-purpose yardage, coming just 7 yards short with 572, including 344 rushing yards against the Big 12's best defense.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  4. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  5. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

Klein holds his Heisman lead over Manziel

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
10:45
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We've updated our ESPN Heisman Watch, and Collin Klein still has a strong lead in our poll of 15 experts and analysts.

The Kansas State quarterback received 12 of 15 first-place votes and has 71 overall points, 19 points more than No. 2, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Manziel received two first-place votes. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o received one.

Klein was the only Big 12 player to appear on a ballot, but he got votes on all 15 ballots. He grabbed two second-place votes and one third-place vote.

Manziel had eight second-place votes, three third-place votes and a fifth-place vote. One voter left him off the ballot.

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 12

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
10:30
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The Heisman race is hitting the home stretch. The field is thinning even further, and that's reflected in our Heisman Watch. Here are the Big 12's best hopes to bring home the trophy.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein was all alone as the front-runner, but he's got some company now in the form of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Klein surely lost a few votes by way of Manziel's huge performance in the upset of No. 1 Alabama on the road. Klein's pedestrian day (145 passing yards, INT and 50 rushing yards, 2 TD) against a good TCU defense didn't help his case. Manziel has more rushing yards and passing yards, but he also has more losses, more turnovers and a lower passer rating.

2. Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Doege has got zero shot to win, but a strong finish might get him somewhat close to getting an invite to New York. He threw for 476 yards Saturday against Kansas, his second-highest total of the season, and his three touchdowns kept him out in front of Matt Barkley for the national lead in touchdown passes with 34.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
  5. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 10

November, 6, 2012
11/06/12
10:30
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Here are the Big 12's best hopes to bring home the Heisman Trophy. The field is thinning considerably.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein's the only guy in the Big 12 with a real chance to win it, but late runs by the guys below him might land them in New York for the trophy presentation. Klein's mysterious injury could complicate this race, but if Klein's production stays even close to what it's been and K-State wins out, the trophy is his.

2. Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Texas' secondary played a heck of a game, but Doege completed 26 of 44 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown, without an interception. Doege missed his chance to really get in the race versus K-State last week, but he's the nation's leader in touchdown passes.

3. Tavon Austin, WR/KR/PR, West Virginia: WVU's offense has slowed, but Austin hasn't at all. He was at his best on Saturday, taking a short catch 43 yards for a score and returning a punt 76 yards for a score. He finished with 11 catches for 101 yards and returned a kick 34 yards, too.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  2. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Big 12 players up for various trophies

October, 30, 2012
10/30/12
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A handful of college football awards released their lists of midseason semifinalists this week. Here's who's up for them from the Big 12:

Maxwell Award (best overall player)
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who Oklahoma got to know quite well on Saturday night, is also on the 16-man list.

Bednarik Award (best defender)

Te'o is obviously on that list, too, but the SEC has eight of the 16 semifinalists.

Thorpe Award (best defensive back)

How about K-State? Landing a guy on all three lists? No easy feat. Not sure I agree with the Malone pick (for my money, Aaron Colvin at OU has been better than Malone so far this year), but still, he's had a great year.

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 10

October, 30, 2012
10/30/12
10:30
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Here's the Big 12's best hopes for the Heisman this season.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Notre Dame's Manti Te'o made a move this weekend in the race, but Klein is still alone at the top of the charts, and deservedly so. As long as K-State keeps winning, it'll stay that way. His lead is still pretty enormous. He's known as a runner ... but is second nationally in passer rating. How about that?

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith is out of the race for now after two bad games and a bye week, but if he finishes strong and maintains his crazy TD-INT ratio, he'll have a good shot to attend the ceremony in New York. If madness occurs at the top with losses to lots of teams, you never know, either.

3. Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Doege missed an opportunity to really insert himself into the Heisman race but still played well against Kansas State. He completed 35 of 50 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns, although his interception was returned for a score and he also had a fumble early in the game.

4. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle will absolutely be in the race if he stays at his current pace and Oklahoma State starts racking up wins against ranked teams over the next month of the season. OSU has had a low profile this season, but that could change quickly. Randle is averaging nearly 130 yards a game, which ranks ninth nationally.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch, a weekly panel of 15 voters across ESPN platforms:
  1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  4. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
  5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

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