COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Johnny Manziel lets his arm and his legs do the talking, but he’ll let his right foot shut up already.
The Texas A&M quarterback, perhaps in pursuit of a whimsical late-season Heisman highlight, attempted an extra-point kick Saturday after throwing an 89-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of BCS No. 8 Texas A&M’s 47-28 win over FCS Sam Houston State (8-3, 6-2 Southland Conference) Saturday at Kyle Field. The kick was wide right, and Manziel’s day was over.
So the Lou Groza Award may be out, but the Heisman Trophy is still in play.
“He actually makes them in practice,” said Texas A&M offensive lineman Patrick Lewis. “We thought he was going to make them today, but unfortunately he didn’t and you can’t add that to the stat sheet. That’s a negative for Johnny.”
Coach Kevin Sumlin explained having Manziel practice kicks was designed to break up the monotony of a season in which Texas A&M does not have a bye.
“It’s a long season,” he said.
Manziel on Saturday became the fifth player in FBS history to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 in the same season. It had never been done by a freshman. His 267 passing yards and 100 rushing gave him 4,161 this season, which puts him on pace to have a better statistical season than Tim Tebow or Cam Newton did the years they won the Heisman.
“I bet he can do it all,” said A&M defensive back Steven Terrell. “You might see him at cornerback.”
The eighth-ranked Aggies (9-2, 5-2 SEC) have one game left, at home next week against Missouri. Manziel is widely thought to be an underdog in the Heisman race to Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, and maybe a couple others. So he’ll need another spectacular game, and maybe some help from Texas, which faces BCS No. 1 K-State next week.
Saturday’s game presented little more for Manziel and Texas A&M than a chance for a fireball of failure, one of the great letdown games in the sport’s history. But a week after ending Alabama’s 13-game winning streak, the Aggies looked as sharp as ever, rolling up 527 yards and holding Sam Houston State to 382.
“We were real excited that we were able to win last week but in order to accomplish what we want to, we had to take care of this week,” Lewis said. “We did a pretty good job of that. We didn’t start off as fast as we normally do, but we got it rolling.”
Texas A&M got off to a briefly imperfect start, getting stopped on third-and-short deep in Bearkat territory on the game’s first drive. But it just seemed ridiculous not to go for it on fourth-and-1 against Sam Houston State, so Texas A&M converted and soon thereafter was up 7-0.
The Aggies didn’t score again until the 10:43 mark of the second quarter, when Manziel found Mike Evans for a 10-yard touchdown pass on a play during which running back Christine Michael got himself ejected for slapping a Bearkat.
Not that the Aggies needed him Saturday.
By halftime they were up 34-0, and had 312 yards to SHSU’s 67. The margin forced the Bearkats to throw, which was trouble, because throwing is not really their thing. Quarterback Brian Bell was 7-for-17 with an interception and 49 yards in the first half.
Sam Houston State scored a couple second-half touchdowns on Texas A&M’s backup defense, which entered the game about the same time Manziel left it.
The Bearkats still couldn’t do much to solve the Aggies offense, though. Backup quarterback Jameill Showers — who, it is worth pointing out, was thought to be the frontrunner for the starting job right up until the moment Manziel was given it — threw an 80-yard touchdown pass on his first attempt, putting Texas A&M up 47-0.
Then came the second units, and the onsides kicks, and the Sam Houston State march back to respectability on the scoreboard.