Manziel's wild TD pass on butt-bootleg leaves lasting memory in possible NCAA finale
JAN 01, 2014 1:00a ET
In just two seasons in College Station, he's compiled 63 passing TDs and 30 rushing scores for the Aggies and pocketed the 2012 Heisman Trophy to boot.
And if he just played his last game in an Aggies uniform, boy, did he go out in style.
The Aggies trailed Duke 38-17 at halftime before Johnny Football worked his magic, the Texas A&M D started stopping the Blue Devil attack, and Nate Askew intercepted Duke QB Anthony Boone with under three minutes to play to seal a thrilling 52-48 comeback win for the Aggies in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
But let's just get one thing out of the way right off the bat.
What the heck was this?
I mean, huh? Did Manziel just try to jump over the crowd in front of him, only to be turned away, stay on his feet, and throw a TD?
Naturally, people took to Twitter to write about it:
Manziel in nutshell: drop back, look for quick throw, hit if open. If not scramble around and make crazy things happen. Rinse. Repeat.— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) January 1, 2014
I have a feeling Johnny Manziel will be the QB2 on many of my fantasy football teams next year...— Shane P. Hallam (@ShanePHallam) January 1, 2014
I never wanted to say this but Johnny Manziel is GOOOOOOD— Nate (12-4) (@KeepPoundingg) January 1, 2014
That was one of three TDs by Manziel in the second half. He finished the game with four throwing scores and one on the ground, while putting together more than 450 yards of total offense.
But who would have thought Johnny would look so happy after the way the game started?
The situation looked pretty grim for Manziel and the Aggies early, and the following GIF captured by The Big Lead said it all. Keep in mind, the score was only 13-3 at this point. Duke would carry a 38-17 lead into halftime.
Here's another scene from the sidelines of a flustered Manziel in the early going (h/t: sbnation.com) . . .
So, yeah, you could say things weren't going so well for Texas A&M.
Boxer Lennox Lewis took notice:
And so did one fictitious gym owner:
And so much for Duke being a basketball school, says this interesting stat:
As the Twittersphere has pointed out, Duke football outscored Duke basketball in the first half of their games today 38-35.— Duke Basketball (@dukebasketball) January 1, 2014
But, hold on, "Since when did Duke get good at football?"
Say hello to the new Blue Devils:
That’s WR Johnell Barnes bringing in this amazing catch during the third quarter. Does it rival Manziel's play? Take another look.
But still, the question beckons:
We're glad you asked, Brandon. Let's take a quick look at the last 10 seasons for Duke. Here are the win-loss marks: 4-8, 2-9, 1-10, 0-12, 1-11, 4-8, 5-7, 3-9, 3-9, and 6-7.
While Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe's building blocks for turning the program around have been in place since he took over prior to the 2008 season, this year has been Duke's first winning campaign since 1994.
In 2013, the Blue Devils reached the 10-win mark, a feat the school has never before accomplished. They also won the Victory Bell, given to the winner of the Duke-North Carolina game, in back-to-back years for the first time in over 20 seasons.
The changes at the program didn't happen overnight, but this season has been a special one for the Blue Devils. It's too bad Manziel was around to snatch away what would have been an incredible finale to the year.
And by the way, there were two quarterbacks playing in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Ladies and gentlemen, Anthony Boone:
(h/t: Bleacher Report)
That's a pretty long throw, say, about 44 yards, for what turned into a 59-yard TD play.
Remember Boone from the North Carolina game earlier this year? He's the same guy who went 23 for 34 with two TD passes in a win over the rival Tar Heels.
On Tuesday, he played a role in four scores, including one where he called his own number on a 11-yard rush. Although he ended up throwing two interceptions (counting the errant pass on the Blue Devils' final drive) he also produced more than 500 yards of offense Tuesday.
Did the Blue Devils see the Aggies coming?
Playing the underdog can be a stressful job, even when you have a big lead. And once Johnny started to get going, he changed some of the conversation on Twitter in A&M's favor.
In the end, the projections were right. Still, 2013 was a memorable one for the Blue Devils, and maybe staying hungry will help Duke in the new year.
As for Johnny Football, if that is the last we see of him in the NCAA, what a final act he put together before pulling the curtains closed.