Manziel dazzles in Texas A&M's easy win over Sam Houston State

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Johnny Football continues to dazzle in Texas.
The week Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel took the lead in the Heisman Trophy race, the sensation threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more in the Aggies' 47-28 victory over Sam Houston State on Saturday.
Manziel's only blunder was on his final play when he missed an extra point after throwing an 89-yard TD pass to Uzoma Nwachukwu on the opening drive of the second half.
"He made them in practice this week and we expected him to make it," center Patrick Lewis said of the PAT try. "Unfortunately, that is a negative for Johnny."
Manziel, who led Texas A&M to a 29-24 upset of No. 1 Alabama last week, did little outside of missing the PAT to hurt his Heisman chances. He ran for 100 yards on 16 carries and passed for another 267 yards in one half and one play.
The victory upped No. 9 Texas A&M's record to 9-2, tied for the school's most wins in a season since 1998. Sam Houston State, No. 3 in the FCS and the co-Southland Conference champion, had its seven-game win streak come to an end and dropped to 8-3.
Manziel directed the Aggies to a touchdown on their first possession for the eighth straight game. The Aggies needed a fourth-down conversion inside the 10 to take the lead.
Christine Michael stretched to place the ball just past the chains on a fourth-and-1 and, on the next snap, Manziel found his favorite target, Mike Evans, for a 7-yard touchdown.
The Bearkat defense forced two punts before the door opened wide for the Aggies, who scored at least 47 points for the sixth game this season.
Texas A&M scored four of the last five times it had the ball in the second quarter.
Manziel found Evans again for 10 yards to start the onslaught.
"The last two weeks and maybe go back to Mississippi State, the throws he's made have been critical for us offensively against the looks to take away his strengths," A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "Kliff (Kingsbury, offensive coordinator) has done a great job working with him to develop his confidence in the passing game, and it's helped us definitely from the looks we've seen from the first five weeks to the last five weeks."
After Manziel's lone mistake as a quarterback, an ill-advised throw to Evans that was intercepted by Dax Saxton, the Aggies got the ball back on Donnie Baggs' interception.
Manziel quickly atoned for his miscue, scoring from 4 yards out on a typical "Johnny Football" run.
Manziel started right, dipped upfield for a step and then cut it back left to beat the cornerback to the pylon.
"I don't know. I know that he is playing very, very well," Sumlin said when asked if Manziel was the best player in college football. "He's been a catalyst for us and certainly his numbers speak for themselves in terms of not just this year's performance but throughout football history. From a number standpoint, (it's) hard to argue he's not one of the best players in the country right now."
Freshman tailback Trey Williams interrupted Manziel's run of touchdowns with a 6-yard TD that was set up by a 40-yard connection from Manziel to Nwachukwu.
On the ensuing play, linebacker Sean Porter stripped the ball from Richard Sincere at the 20. Manziel went over from the 1 two plays later.
Manziel's lone play of the second half was an 89-yard connection with Nwachukwu. Manziel celebrated with running back Ben Malena and then ran down and attempted the extra point. His conventional-style kick was wide right.
"As a coach it's your job to keep the interest and the energy level up," Sumlin said of the PAT attempt. "Any team I've been associated with, whether it's Heisman awards or anything like that, it's a team award because I don't see a whole lot of guys on losing teams at those award ceremonies."
A&M backup quarterback Jameill Showers nearly matched Manziel on his first snap, finding LeKendrick Williams for an 80-yard touchdown to put Texas A&M ahead 47-0.
Sam Houston, which came in averaging 54 points a game in its win streak, made the score respectable, with four touchdowns in the final 22 minutes against A&M's second- and third-stringers.
Tim Flanders scored from the 2 in the third quarter. K.J. Williams, a transfer from A&M, scored on a 9-yard pass from Brian Bell, Ridgeway Frank went over from 1 and backup QB Chris Grett ran it in from the 5 in the fourth quarter.
"I was proud of our team in the second half. I thought our team came out and battled," SHSU coach Willie Fritz said. "I told our guys in the locker room that we need to put this game behind us and hopefully get some good news in the selection show tomorrow."
The Bearkats are hoping to be one of the 12 teams to get a bye in the first round of the FCS playoffs.
Sam Houston was successful on two onside kicks to help make the final score respectable.
NOTES: On the first drive of the game, Manziel broke NCAA records for rushing yards and total yards by a freshman QB. He broke Missouri Tiger Brad Smith's rushing mark of 1,029 yards (2002) and Kentucky Wildcat Jared Lorenzen's total yards mark of 3,827 (2000). ... Sam Houston safety Darnell Taylor, last season's Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year, set the Bearkats' career record for solo tackles with 216, passing Stan Blinka (1975-78), who went on to play a decade for the New York Jets. ... Texas A&M running back Christine Michael was ejected after the Aggies' second touchdown for punching safety Kenneth Jenkins. ... SHSU senior safety Daxton Swanson recorded his 13th career interception, tying a 50-year-old school record.

What to Read Next