COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Turns out Johnny Football’s exceptional football skills don’t extend to kicking.
Johnny Manziel threw for 267 yards and
three touchdowns, and ran for 100 yards and two more scores and No. 9
Texas A&M beat Sam Houston State 47-28 Saturday.
The redshirt freshman with the cool
nickname 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.
Coach Kevin Sumlin got a good chuckle when asked if he might lose Heisman votes for the missed kick.
“I don’t know,” he said laughing. “I don’t know that it will cost him anything.”
But it did cause his teammates to tease him a bit.
“Come on Johnny, you’re better than that,” Nwachukwu said he told Manziel.
Sumlin said Manziel had been practicing
kicks for a couple of weeks and made some in practice. He decided to
let him kick to break up the monotony of the season, and “keep it fun.”
Manziel broke the NCAA freshman
quarterback rushing record of 1,029 yards 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.
Sumlin said he didn’t know if Manziel was the best player in the country, but raved about his star.
“I know that he’s playing very, very
well and he’s been a catalyst for us,” Sumlin said. “Certainly his
numbers speak for himself, not just for this year but throughout
football history. From a numbers standpoint, it’s hard to argue that
he’s not one of the best players in the country right now.”
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 over last year’s
Championship Subdivision runner-up.
Sam Houston State (8-3), which has
already clinched a share of the Southland Conference title this year,
had a seven-game winning streak snapped with the loss.
It’s their last regular-season game before they return to the playoffs next week.
“I did a poor job of preparing our
guys,” Sam Houston coach Willie Fritz said. “They showed us why they’re a
top-10 team in the country. That’s why they beat Alabama.”
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.
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
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.
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.
Backup Jameill Showers connected with
LeKendrick Williams for an 80-yard touchdown pass on his first play
after Manziel left the game to extend the lead to 47-0 early in the
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.
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.
“Thomas is with his family now,” Sumlin
said. “We’ve been in communication with his parents and we’ll see what
happens from there.”