Aggies aim for offensive perfection
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)
The high-powered Texas A&M offense tries to score every time it has the ball.
But the ninth-ranked Aggies, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, get angry when they don't score a touchdown on every offensive series.
Center Mike Matthews, who is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, hates when they let a drive get away without adding to the score. The sophomore is in his first year starting and joined a line featuring his older brother Jake Matthews at left tackle.
''To us we feel like we're unstoppable, so every time we go on the field it's a disappointment if we get stopped,'' Mike Matthews said.
He's looking for the offense to be more potent as it learns to limit its mistakes.
''When we don't score I feel like it's us beating ourselves more because it's mental errors and stuff like that and penalties,'' he said. ''There are a lot of great defenses in the SEC (but) a lot of the times we feel like we're hurting ourselves because our offense is so good.''
The Aggies return from their bye week to face Mississippi on Saturday. Texas A&M enters the game fourth in the country in points scored a game at 49.2 and third in total offense with 586.4 yards a game.
Running back Ben Malena is second on the team to Manziel in yards rushing with 303 and has scored seven touchdowns. He agreed with Mike Matthews and said the key to their offensive success is execution and attitude.
''It's just a demeanor that we have,'' he said. ''We feel like we're the best offense in the country.''
It's easy to see where the players get their thirst for piling up points. Coach Kevin Sumlin has long been known for his high-scoring offenses, and offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney preaches about not wasting drives constantly.
McKinney broke into a huge grin this week when told that his players say they get upset when they don't put up touchdowns on each possession.
''We want 100 percent scoring in the red zone, 100 percent on third downs and that leads to touchdowns,'' McKinney said of his team which converts more than 56 percent of its third down chances.
''When that doesn't happen you're frustrated, but hopefully it happens a lot more times than it doesn't happen.''
That task is certainly made easier with the dynamic Manziel running the offense. The sophomore has thrown for 1,489 yards and 14 touchdowns and ran for 314 yards and three more scores.
Manziel has run less this season than he did last year when he had 1,410 yards rushing. But Sumlin said that's simply a product of his maturity.
''He's more comfortable being in his second year back there,'' Sumlin said. ''He has freedom within the offense to check plays rather than him being stuck and having to take off and run with it ... it has nothing to do with telling him not to run as much. It has to do with his overall growth and development as a quarterback.''
He and A&M's offense have also been helped this year by the emergence of receiver Mike Evans. Evans has become Manziel's favorite target this year and is fourth in the nation with 691 yards receiving.