Johnny Manziel's right shoulder may have made him, a game-time decision against Vanderbilt, but his performance certainly wasn't hampered.
And he played so well that Texas A&M was able to rest him for the entire fourth quarter. Before being pulled with 4:16 left in the third quarter, Manziel finished 25-35 for 305 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in A&M's 56-24 win over the Commodores, the 11th straight time that the Aggies have scored 40 points or more.
Manziel suffered an injury to his right throwing shoulder when he was tackled last week against Auburn. He briefly left for a series before returning to finish the game, though he was visibly in pain. While Manziel grimaced a few times throughout Saturday's game, if you were off the grid over the entire week, well, you wouldn't have known about the injury.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin announced that Manziel would start shortly before the game. Once that decision was public, the Aggies seemed eager to put any questions about Manziel's health to rest. A&M got the ball first and Manziel promptly went 10-10 through the air on the first drive, which culminated in a 8-yard touchdown to Derel Walker.
No, the playbook wasn't altered either. Manziel made both short and long throws with ease, connecting with Mike Evans on a 43 yard touchdown and firing another long pass in his direction that was batted down. On that play, Manziel was flushed from the pocket so calmly that he rotated the football in his hands for a better throw while he was moving to his left. You don't see that too often.
A&M quickly jumped out to a 28-0 lead, but Vanderbilt was able to briefly get back into the game after an onside kick and a failed fourth down conversion from Texas A&M to get the game to 28-17 at halftime. But Vandy quarterback Patton Robinette threw a pick-six on the first drive of the second half and the rout was back on.
- - - - - - -