Te'o remains a longshot for Heisman Trophy

944027.png

Te'o remains a longshot for Heisman Trophy

Two secondary consequences of Kansas State and Oregon's losses Saturday night were the blows to the Heisman candidacies of Collin Klein and Kenjon Barner, both of whom struggled in their respective defeats.

Manti Te'o secured a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist after securing Notre Dame's win over Oklahoma with a fourth-quarter interception. But his chances of winning it remain low, despite Klein and Barner falling off a bit.

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel looks like favorite to win the Heisman at this point, while neither Klein nor Barner should be counted out. But as long as there's a quarterback putting up gaudy numbers -- Manziel has thrown for 3,047 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 1,114 yards and 17 touchdowns -- Te'o's chances are slim.

His coach, though, will campaign for him as long as Notre Dame wins Nov. 24 against USC.

"I think he should win the Heisman Trophy, provided we continue to win," Brian Kelly said Sunday. "... He doesn't talk much about it. He's not focused on those things, he's focused on the things that we all know that are important to him, and that is his team and how we play on Saturday.

"I'll push for him. I think he should win the Heisman. But he's not really focused on that."

There's an argument to be made that the physical and emotional leader of one of the nation's best defenses deserves the honor reserved for the best player on college football. But Te'o's impact is far more difficult to quantify than that of Manziel, who is the first freshman in NCAA history to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000.

At the least, there's a good chance Te'o winds up at the Heisman ceremony in New York as a finalist -- a rarity for a defense-only player. And it won't be the only award ceremony Te'o will be attending -- he's a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player), Lombardi Award (best linebackerlineman), Campbell Trophy (top scholar athlete) and Senior CLASS Award (top student athlete), as well as a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (best defensive player), Butkus Award (best linebacker), Walter Camp Award (player of the year), Lott Trophy (best playerstudentcommunity member) and Maxwell Award (player of the year).

"The only thing we talked about is that he's going to be with me after the USC game quite a bit because we've got a lot of banquets and awards shows to be at," Kelly said. "So the only thing that I've talked to him about is that we have a hope that we'll be in New York together in a couple of weeks."

Fast Break Morning Update: Josh Sitton named to Pro Bowl; Blackhawks-Lightning on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Josh Sitton named to Pro Bowl; Blackhawks-Lightning on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

CSN will air six Cubs spring training games in 2017

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

NBA Buzz: With trade deadline looming, Bulls' season at a crossroads

Bears' Josh Sitton finds fourth Pro Bowl most meaningful yet

Report: Cubs preparing to roll the dice with Brett Anderson

Extra incentive fuels Tanner Kero in second stint with Blackhawks

Four top prospects among 19 players invited to White Sox big league camp

NBA Insiders Notebook: Trade rumors heating up

Five B1G-gest things: Indiana wins first game without Anunoby, Michigan 'white collar' no more

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you’re ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Blackhawks: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Blackhawks fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Blackhawks Pulse