When the final seconds ticked down on Texas A&M’s 51-41 win over Mississippi State, Johnny Manziel put on his baseball cap, ran toward the stands of Kyle Field and jumped into the waiting arms of his family while flash bulbs went off all around him.
The ticking down of the clock not only signified the end of another victory in Manziel’s storied career, but also the final seconds of his time in A&M’s home stadium. The game was A&M’s final home contest of the season and the redshirt sophomore is expected to announce his intention to enter the NFL draft in the spring.
The contest brought out 88,504 A&M faithful, the third-largest crowd in stadium history, which rained down chants of “one more year” on their Heisman Trophy winner. Former President George H.W. Bush, former Texas A&M and current St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha and Texas Governor Rick Perry also were on hand to witness Manziel’s greatness one final time.
And Manziel made sure to leave a lasting impression, throwing for 446 yards and tying a career-high with five touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions, which helped keep the game interesting, but in the end, it was a fine ending to his illustrious career in College Station.
While the college game has enjoyed Manziel – he still has three games remaining in his collegiate career – Manziel has taken a beating both on and off the field. In the months following his Heisman win, he was ridiculed for his off-field antics. Some of that spilled onto the field early in the season, which created even more turmoil. But once Manziel turned off social networking and focused solely on A&M, things seemed to settle down and Manziel just played football.
Physically, he's dealt with knee and shoulder injuries, ailments that could hurt his draft stock, but he keeps trotting out there play after play.
And he’s played so well, he’s worked himself into Heisman contention for the second consecutive season.
No matter your feelings about Manziel as a person, his game will sorely be missed when the season is over. And we are all winners for having watched him the past couple years.
Here are the rest of the winners and losers from Week 11:
Minnesota: Minnesota is the surprise team of the Big Ten this year and the Golden Gophers extended its winning streak to four by grinding out a 24-10 win over Penn State. The win marked the first time Minnesota has won four consecutive Big Ten games since 1973, and the team has done it without its head coach on the sideline. Jerry Kill has had well-publicized struggles with epileptic seizures, and his team is rallying around him and interim coach Tracy Claeys. David Cobb ran for 139 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries while quarterback Philip Nelson accounted for a score threw the air and on the ground. The Gophers’ eight wins is the most the team has had since going 10-3 in 2003.
Eastern Michigan: One day after firing their head coach for ‘whole inappropriate language,’ Eastern Michigan, led by interim coach Stan Parrish, responded with an overtime victory over Western Michigan. The Eagles trailed 29-21 with 6:51 remaining, but managed to tie the score on a 9-yard touchdown pass from freshman Brogan Roback to Dustin Creel and two-point conversion from Roback to Ryan Brumfield, forcing overtime. WMU opened the extra period with a field goal, but the Eagles quickly responded with a four yard Brumfield touchdown run for the win. Brumfield racked up 148 yards on the ground and two scores on just 15 carries.
“I’m sure there had been some Thursday nights that those kids said ‘What are we doing this for?’ Well, they got it,” Parrish said after the win.
Aaron Murray: Georgia senior quarterback Aaron Murray set another SEC record in the Bulldogs’ win over Appalachian State Saturday. With a second quarter 23-yard touchdown pass to Michael Bennett, the 115th in his career, Murray passed Florida’s Danny Wuerffel to set the SEC career touchdown pass record. Murray finished the game 19-of-26 for 281 yards and two touchdowns in his 50th consecutive start.
“It is a huge honor to be out there and be lucky enough to play four years here and that’s the biggest thing,” Murray said.
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 9, 2013
Texas: All along coach Mack Brown has said his team’s goal is to win the Big 12 and that goal stayed intact Saturday after a thrilling 47-40 overtime win against West Virginia. Texas trailed 19-13 after the first half before both offenses were sparked and a shootout broke out. Texas linebacker Steve Edmond intercepted West Virginia's Paul Millard in the end zone on fourth down in overtime to secure the win. Texas is 6-0 in conference play, but things don’t get any easier with games against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor rounding out the regular season.
Central Florida: No. 21 Central Florida held off a late comeback attempt from Houston to remain atop the AAC standings with a 19-14 win. The Knights used the tandem backfield of Storm Johnson (28 carries, 127 yards) and William Stanbeck (9 carries, 74 yards, 2 TDs) to secure an inside track to a BCS berth. Quarterback Blake Bortles (17-of-24, 210 yards) was efficient and the Knights’ defense intercepted Houston freshman quarterback John O’Korn twice. Temple, Rutgers, South Florida and SMU remain on the schedule for the Knights.
Michigan offense: Any glimmer of hope that Michigan (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) still had for a shot at the Big Ten title was squashed today when the Wolverines lost at home to Nebraska, 17-13. The Wolverines’ offense struggled all day and was held to a putrid -21 yards rushing. Quarterback Devin Gardner was sacked seven times for the second straight game as the Wolverines failed to rush for a single first down. Running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green combined for just 17 yards on 17 carries. Not good.
Michigan finishes w/minus 21 yards rushing; has had minus 69 yards rushing in last 2 games
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) November 9, 2013
Miami: Miami’s loss to Florida State got a lot worse Saturday after the hangover from that defeat resulted in a 42-24 clobbering by Virginia Tech. Miami looked sloppy from the beginning and was never able to get any traction against the Hokies. The loss now makes the ACC Coastal interesting with Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech all jumbled at the top. Miami had a chance to distance itself in the Coastal Division and set up a rematch against Florida State, but Saturday’s loss made that outlook a whole lot tougher.
LSU’s offense: LSU needed to play mistake-free football to beat No. 1 Alabama and mistakes were made in abundance. It started on the first drive when fullback J.C. Copeland lost the football walking into the end zone and the mistakes trickled down from there. Turnovers and stupid penalties and the inability to capitalize on big plays like Odell Beckham’s 82-yard kick return in the fourth quarter doomed LSU.
Notre Dame: Two interceptions by Tommy Rees in the fourth quarter turned a contest the Irish were winning pretty much the entire game into a 28-21 loss to Pitt. The loss eliminates Notre Dame of any hope – even if it was slim – of a BCS bowl and the prospect of a double-digit win season is slim with games against BYU and No. 5 Stanford remaining.
Texas Tech: It wasn’t so long ago that everything was jolly in Lubbock, but after the last three weeks, things have turned pretty sour. The Red Raiders have lost three straight, including a 49-26 smackdown by Kansas State on Saturday. It was the second-consecutive week the Red Raiders had lost by double digits. Even though Tech started 7-0, everyone knew they might have some trouble once they got into the tougher games in conference play. Not sure anyone thought they’d have this much trouble.
Sam Cooper contributed to this post
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