NCAA FB

No. 6 Aggies prepare for part 2 with No. 1 Alabama

Share This Story

   
 

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)

(Eds: Adds details; quotes.)By KRISTIE RIEKENAP Sports Writer

Everything went right for No. 6 Texas A&M in last year's upset of top-ranked Alabama that helped launch Johnny Manziel's run to the Heisman Trophy.

As the Aggies prepare for the rematch, they insist it's just another game, saying it so much it almost seems as if they are trying to convince themselves.

But no matter how much they repeat the sentiment that's being fed to them by coach Kevin Sumlin and the rest of the staff, everyone knows that it isn't just another game. It's arguably the biggest game in the program's history.

As much as Sumlin tries to downplay the hype surrounding this week, even those in his family aren't buying that it's business as usual. He said his 9- and 11-year-old sons watch television and see all the satellite trucks parked near the stadium.

''They recognize how big things are,'' he said with a laugh.

Things have changed drastically for the Aggies since last year's meeting with the two-time defending national champion. The biggest difference is the focus on their captivating Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Interest in Manziel has reached such a fever pitch that CBS will have a camera focused solely on him for the entirety of Saturday's game, which they've dubbed the ''Johnny Cam.''

Sumlin understands the extra attention paid to Manziel. But he certainly doesn't like it.

''Everything that we do here at Texas A&M is about team and it's about building our team, building our program and not the individual,'' Sumlin said. ''Saturday afternoon you're going to have two football teams, and I just don't understand why there's got to be one guy singled out with a camera. That's not what we try to be about, that's not what we promote.''

Manziel spoke after Saturday's win over Sam Houston State for the first time since SEC media day. Many expected him to talk about Alabama on Tuesday, but he was not made available. The reason, according to Sumlin, was out of his hands.

''He and his family and his advisors and lawyers have advised him not to talk and I'll respect his wishes on that,'' Sumlin said.

Manziel threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 92 more to help A&M to last year's 29-24 victory in Tuscaloosa. Manziel was known as an intriguing dual-threat quarterback and dynamic playmaker before that game. But his performance in the win catapulted him to another level, and helped him become the first freshman to win the Heisman.

Running back Ben Malena marveled at how the perception of Manziel changed after that game, and he's eager to face Alabama again.

''Last year the Alabama game was a stage for the whole world to see what kind of player he is,'' Malena said. ''He deserved it along with this team, to be put on a stage to show what we can do and what he can do. I think this Saturday is another similar stage and the world is going to see how much better and how much more he has progressed along with the whole team.''

Manziel started on Saturday after sitting out the first half of Texas A&M's opener serving a suspension for what the school called an ''inadvertent'' violation of NCAA rules involving signing autographs.

Malena believes the offense made strides in the first two weeks, but has to take its play to another level this week.

''We corrected some of the mistakes from Week 1 to Week 2, but we're going to need to correct some more stuff because we know they will be ready,'' he said.

Texas A&M's defense gave up several big plays in last week's 65-28 win over Sam Houston State while playing without several suspended starters. The unit will be back to full strength this week and the Aggies think that will allow them to get away from the ''vanilla'' defense they played the first two weeks.

Saturday will be the first full game for cornerback Deshazor Everett, who sat out the first half of Texas A&M's opener serving a suspension for violating team rules, before drawing his targeting penalty and another suspension in the second half against Rice.

He's a junior who started all but one game for Texas A&M last season and intercepted A.J. McCarron's pass near the end zone in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory over the Crimson Tide.

He knows that many think that victory was a fluke, but that doesn't concern him one bit.

''We go into the game thinking we can beat anybody and that's how we're going to approach this game,'' he said. ''When we're the underdogs, we just go in there with a fight mentality and play harder as the underdogs.''

Tagged: Texas A&M, Alabama, Texas, Ben Malena, Johnny Manziel

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash