Manziel leads Aggies over Bearkats 47-28
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)
''We need to put it in our rearview mirror,'' coach Willie Fritz said.
Sam Houston State (8-3), which was the FCS runner-up last season and has already clinched a share of the Southland Conference title this year, had its seven-game winning streak snapped with the loss.
Johnny Manziel threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 100 yards and two more scores to lead Texas A&M to the win.
The redshirt freshman threw an 89-yard touchdown pass to Uzoma Nwachukwu on A&M's first offensive play of the second half. The dual-threat quarterback then attempted the extra point, but it sailed wide right, ending the Heisman hopeful's day with A&M (9-2) leading 40-0.
He broke the NCAA freshman quarterback rushing record of 1,029 set by Missouri's Brad Smith in 2002, and the freshman record for total offense of 3,827 yards set in 2000 by Jared Lorenzen on A&M's first drive. He also became the fifth player and first freshman in FBS history to pass for at least 3,000 yards with at least 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
His 4,161 yards are a school record for total offense in a season.
A week after their stunning upset of top-ranked Alabama, the Aggies (9-2) led by seven after one, and used a 27-point second quarter to build a big lead.
''I did a poor job of preparing our guys,'' Fritz said. ''They showed us why they're a top-10 team in the country. That's why they beat Alabama.''
Timothy Flanders had a 2-yard touchdown run for Sam Houston State in the third quarter, and the Bearkats added three scores against A&M's backups in the fourth quarter.
''That second half we did compete and I was proud of that,'' Fritz said. ''I thought our guys came out and played tough.''
Flanders ran for 68 yards and quarterback Brian Bell had 150 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.
Manziel got Texas A&M going when he found Mike Evans on a 7-yard pass on the first drive to make it 7-0.
''We made some mental busts,'' Fritz said. ''We didn't tackle very well. A lot of that was them. That guy's the real deal, (Manziel), he's quick.''
The Aggies had to punt on their next two possessions before the offense started rolling again. Manziel hooked up with Evans again, this time on a 10-yard pass, to push the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter. Manziel had a 22-yard run and the Aggies got 13 extra yards at the end of it after a personal foul penalty on Darnell Taylor earlier in that drive.
Running back Christine Michael was ejected at the end of the play where Evans scored his second touchdown. Michael, a senior, and some Sam Houston players were pushing each other before Michael threw a punch.
Daxton Swanson intercepted Manziel later in the second quarter. It was Manziel's first interception since Oct. 20 against LSU, and gave Swanson a school-record-tying 13 for his career.
The Bearkats couldn't take advantage of the miscue, and Bell was intercepted by A&M's Donnie Baggs three plays later.
Manziel used his feet on the next score, dashing in from 4 yards. Taylor Bertolet missed the extra point to leave the score at 20-0.
''Once A&M got started they were hard to stop,'' Sam Houston linebacker Jesse Beauchamp said.
Nwachukwu had a 40-yard catch to start Texas A&M's next drive, and Trey Williams extended the lead to 27-0 with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Linebacker Sean Porter forced a fumble and recovered it on Sam Houston State's first play after Williams' touchdown. Nwachukwu, who finished with 160 yards receiving, had a 19-yard catch-and-run before Manziel hopped into the end zone untouched on a 1-yard run to make it 34-0 at halftime.
''If you give this team a short field, they're going to score points on you,'' Fritz said. ''We had some opportunities to make it interesting at halftime, but we didn't do a very good job with ball security.''
Texas A&M freshman receiver Thomas Johnson, who was found safe by police in Dallas on Friday three days after he disappeared from campus, did not attend the game.