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Manziel helps Texas A&M overcome Arkansas

The SportsXchange

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas was stuck trying to play catch-up against No. 10 Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel all night long.

The Aggies never got caught. A&M used a strong rushing attack in a rain-filled second half to pull away for a 45-33 road win at Razorback Stadium.

"Our offensive line is pretty confident," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "They've played well this year. We just haven't really asked them to do those times of things like we did tonight. I think the elements had something to do with that when it was raining the way it was."

A&M (4-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) ran for 150 of its 262 yards in the second half, but didn't pull away from Arkansas (3-2, 0-1) until late in the fourth quarter.

Arkansas had the chance to take the lead on three different drives in the second half, but the Razorbacks failed to pick up a first down on any of the series with one ending when A&M's Deshazor Everett took an interception back 34 yards for a touchdown.

"A critical point for us was we knew we needed to score every time we had it and had to monopolize the football," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said.

The A&M defense gave up 483 yards, but came up big when it counted. The Aggies forced a turnover on downs with Arkansas at the Aggies' 16, down 45-33 late in the fourth quarter.

Manziel finished 23 of 30 for 261 passing yards and two touchdowns with another 59 rushing yards. But he only attempted seven passes in the second half as the rain intensified.

Instead, running backs Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Ben Malena carried the load. Williams ran for 83 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, Carson had 64 yards on nine attempts and Malena had 40 yards and two touchdowns as A&M morphed into a run-oriented team.

"They all have their own pluses and we utilize them all," Sumlin said. "I think we're able to keep them all fresh that way."

Arkansas cut the lead to 38-33 on Brandon Allen's 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 left in the third quarter. But A&M responded with Malena's 1-yard touchdown run with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter.

The Razorbacks never got any closer. Allen was intercepted on Arkansas' final drive to seal the A&M victory.

The Razorbacks sophomore quarterback completed 17 of 36 passes for a career-high 282 yards and three touchdowns. But he also threw two key interceptions a week after missing the Rugers game with an injured throwing shoulder.

Allen started despite not taking part in a full practice all week leading up to the game.

"I thought Brandon Allen was outstanding," Bielema said. "To come in the way he did, with a limited amount of practice, was impressive."

A&M's offense was rolling in the first half as the Aggies scored on their first four possessions en route to a 24-20 halftime lead.

Manziel completed 18 of 23 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns in the half while also rushing for 49 yards as the Aggies racked up 316 yards of offense before the break.

The Aggies led 17-7 at the end of the first quarter and extended the lead to 24-10 on Manziel's 7-yard touchdown to Mike Evans, who came down with the ball in a crowd in the back of the end zone. Evans caught both Manziel touchdown passes and finished with six catches for 116 yards.

But Arkansas closed the gap by scoring 10 points in the final 6:02, including Zach Hocker's 39-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

The Razorbacks kept the game close in the third quarter thanks to Allen's touchdown pass and strong running from freshman Alex Collins. Collins finished with 116 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, cracking the century mark for the fourth time in five collegiate games.

NOTES: Arkansas rushed for 103 yards with true freshman Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper at the two guard spots. ... Evans briefly left the game with an injury in the second quarter, but returned on the next drive. ... A&M came within three rushing yards of tying its season-high of 265 against SMU. ... Arkansas' 36 passing attempts were almost as many as the the previous two weeks (39) combined.
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