Johnny Football and No. 10 Texas A&M’s offense dominated as usual against SMU.
The difference on Saturday night was that the Aggies defense was solid, too.
Johnny Manziel accounted for 346 yards with three touchdowns in just more than a half to help Texas A&M cruise to a 42-13 win over SMU.
Texas A&M (3-1) was up 32-6 at halftime, and Manziel led the Aggies to a touchdown on their first drive of the third quarter before the Heisman Trophy winner went to the bench.
The defense, which struggled as it dealt with suspensions early this season, had given up 36 points a game through the first three games. Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder made some personnel changes this week to help the Aggies improve.
”We’ve still got some areas we’ve got to work on, but a much better game from our side of the ball,” Snyder said. ”We’re still a work in progress, for sure, but as long as I keep seeing improvement each week I think we’ll be fine.”
It was a nice bounce-back game for Texas A&M after falling to top-ranked Alabama 49-42 last week.
”We learned some valuable lessons a week ago,” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. ”I think we can get a little bit more confidence coming out of this game with our defense.”
Manziel had 244 yards passing with a touchdown and ran for 102 yards and two more scores.
”We tried a little of everything,” SMU coach June Jones said of trying to slow Manziel. ”He’s an amazing player. You blitz him and he’s accurate with the ball. You rush three, and he can scramble around and make it last forever. He’s a great college football player and he’s in the perfect system.”
The Aggies have scored at least 40 points in each of their first four games for the first time in school history.
Deshazor Everett returned a fumble 12 yards for a touchdown, and Ben Malena ran for 71 yards and two scores. He got things going for A&M with a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw for 310 yards and a touchdown with an interception for SMU (1-2).
Despite the lopsided score, Texas A&M’s performance was far from flawless. The Aggies missed three straight PATs in the second quarter and were penalized 13 times for 114 yards.
The Mustangs didn’t play any cleaner, and piled up 16 penalties for 111 yards.
The Aggies took a 14-0 lead when Manziel sidestepped a defender before high-stepping over another one en route to the end zone on a 7-yard run later in the first.
Texas A&M recovered an onside kick and was driving again when a pass by Manziel was deflected and intercepted by Hayden Greenbauer. The Mustangs cut the lead to 14-3 when the ensuing drive resulted in a 42-yard field goal by Chase Hover.
Manziel rolled out and found Malcome Kennedy on a 16-yard touchdown pass that extended the lead to 20-3 early in the second quarter. Taylor Bertolet’s kick failed.
Manziel’s second 7-yard touchdown run made it 32-3 just more than three minutes later, but Bertolet missed again.
Jeremiah Gaines fumbled after a reception on the first play of SMU’s next drive, and Everett scooped it up and returned it for the score. Sumlin had seen enough of Bertolet and brought in Josh Lambo to attempt the PAT. But holder Drew Kaser fumbled the snap, and the kick was blocked.
Sumlin said Bertolet and Lambo will compete for the job.
A 47-yard field goal by Hover as time expired in the second quarter left A&M up 32-6 at halftime.
Manziel had a nifty run on A&M’s first possession after halftime. He evaded three defenders that had hands on him to dash down the sideline on a 20-yard run. Malena’s 1-yard run two plays later — and a made extra point by Lambo — made it 39-6.
He was replaced by Matt Joeckel, who started A&M’s opener while Manziel served an NCAA suspension. Joeckel threw for 63 yards before Sumlin brought in freshman Kenny Hill.
Lambo’s 40-yard field goal extended A&M’s lead to 42-6 near the end of the third quarter.
A 31-yard touchdown reception by Keenan Holman made it 42-13 early in the fourth quarter. Holman finished with 10 receptions for 133 yards.