12:00 PM ET, November 3, 2012
Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS
The redshirt freshman picked apart Mississippi State (No. 15 BCS, No. 17 AP) by completing 30-of-36 passes for 311 yards and danced around the Bulldogs for 129 yards rushing and two touchdowns, leading the 16th-ranked Aggies to a 38-13 victory on Saturday.
A relative unknown before the season, Manziel is posting consistently terrific performances that are starting to generate whispers of Heisman Trophy consideration. He certainly has been the unquestioned star for the upstart Aggies.
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"He has a green light to make plays, some improvised, some called," Texas A&M first-year coach Kevin Sumlin said.
He made those plays in bunches against the Bulldogs.
Maybe the most impressive was a 37-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter that pushed the Aggies' lead to 21-0. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Manziel rolled right, and when he didn't see an open receiver, weaved around multiple Mississippi State defenders on his way to the end zone.
Sumlin admitted the Aggies are still adjusting to their quarterback's uncanny playmaking ability.
It's a good problem to have.
"We're lucky to have him," running back Ben Malena said. "The play is never over. You've got to stay in the play and try to help him out any way you can."
The Aggies' quick-tempo offense ran 97 plays and gained 693 total yards. Mississippi State had just 310 yards.
"That's as bad of a performance as I think we've had here," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said.
Johnny Be Very Good
Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel already has the most games of 300 yards passing and 100 rushing in a single season since 2000.
(Texas A&M, 2012)
(Cent. Michigan, 2007)
Tyler Russell completed 19-of-30 passes for 212 yards, with one touchdown and one interception for Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2), which has lost two in a row.
Mississippi State's defense had been one of the best in the SEC this season -- especially in the secondary -- but was blitzed early and often by the Aggies' unpredictable offense.
Manziel completed mostly short passes in the first half, but hit on a few long ones. When the Bulldogs dropped too far back into pass coverage, the speedy freshman gained yards with his feet.
By halftime, Manziel had completed 18 of 22 passes for 164 yards and run for 82 yards as the Aggies grabbed a 24-0 lead.
If there was any doubt about the outcome, Texas A&M cleared that up with the first drive of the third quarter, cruising 75 yards on nine plays and scoring on a 1-yard run by Michael to push the lead to 31-0.
Now a little more than halfway through his first season at Texas A&M, Sumlin's offense is operating with impressive efficiency. Over the past six weeks, the Aggies have scored 58 points on Arkansas, 59 on Louisiana Tech, 63 on Auburn and now 38 on the Bulldogs.
The Aggies were balanced, gaining 361 yards on the ground and 332 through the air.
The only knock against Manziel this season has been a tendency for turnovers, but he avoided them while Texas A&M built its early lead. His only mistake was a fumble into the end zone as he tried to stretch for a touchdown in the second half.
By then, the Aggies had the game well in hand.
It was a crushing loss for the Bulldogs, who started the season 7-0 and had aspirations of competing for the SEC Western Division title.
But the Bulldogs have absorbed lopsided losses to Alabama and Texas A&M in consecutive weeks. It doesn't get any easier with a road game against LSU next weekend.
Russell threw for just 29 yards in the first half and was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on the first drive by Texas A&M's Damontre Moore, who leads the SEC with 11½ sacks.
"We knew (Russell) is a poised quarterback," Moore said. "He sits in there and makes throws. But that can be a good or a bad thing. He extends plays and that can be good for the pass rush."
By the time Russell had some success it was too late. He threw a 14-yard pass to Chad Bumphis in the third quarter and added a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
"We as a team played very poorly," Mullen said. "That's 100 percent my fault. As head football coach, that all falls on my shoulders. In every phase, we played very poorly. I will give them credit - their kids played very well. They have a good football team."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... MSU wore white in honor of the 2000 "Snow Bowl" meeting between these teams. It may as well have waved a white flag.
Gameball goes to... Johnny Manziel, who passed for 311 yards with no interceptions and rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat of the game... 36-15. The Aggies had 21 more first downs than the Bulldogs and outgained them by almost 400 yards of total offense.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||9-16||2-10|
|4th Down Conversions||2-3||0-2|
|TD||09:16||Ben Malena 1 Yd Run (Taylor Bertolet Kick)||7||0|
|TD||03:11||Christine Michael 22 Yd Run (Taylor Bertolet Kick)||14||0|
|TD||11:51||Johnny Manziel 37 Yd Run (Taylor Bertolet Kick)||21||0|
|FG||02:53||Taylor Bertolet 24 Yd||24||0|
|TD||12:40||Christine Michael 1 Yd Run (Taylor Bertolet Kick)||31||0|
|TD||08:01||Chad Bumphis 14 Yd Pass From Tyler Russell (Devon Bell Kick)||31||7|
|TD||09:11||Tyler Russell 4 Yd Run (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed)||31||13|
|TD||05:59||Johnny Manziel 8 Yd Run (Taylor Bertolet Kick)||38||13|
With his 37-yard scoring run, Johnny Manziel is now tied with Denard Robinson and Braxton Miller for most runs that gained 30 yards or more this season in FBS with 9.[+]
Mississippi State started the season 7-0. Since then, they've been outscored 59-7. They were outscored 38-7 by Alabama last week and have started this week down 21-0 to Texas A&M.
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