Manziel leads Aggies over Miners 57-7
Johnny Manziel didn’t like the way Texas A&M’s offense was
playing early on Saturday night against UTEP, so he called an
impromptu meeting on the sidelines to get the unit back on
The Heisman Trophy winner’s speech worked.
Manziel threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores
in less than three quarters to lead No. 12 Texas A&M to a
lopsided 57-7 win over UTEP.
The Aggies trailed by five points early before scoring 55
straight to cruise to the victory against the overmatched Miners,
losers of six straight.
”He just made a great leadership speech,” receiver Travis
Labhart said. ”Told us to get back to doing what we do.”
Manziel threw touchdown passes of 44, 15, 17 and 26 yards and
had TD runs of 10 and 49 yards before putting on his baseball cap
with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
”We started uncharacteristically slow for whatever reason,”
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. ”We were just a little bit
off the first couple of series’ … but we kicked it into
The Miners were done in by four turnovers, including two
interceptions by A&M’s Howard Matthews.
”Second quarter the turnovers really killed us,” UTEP coach
Sean Kugler said. ”Really put our defense in a tough spot.”
UTEP’s Blaire Sullivan was making his first start with Jameill
Showers, a transfer from A&M, out with a shoulder injury.
Sullivan threw for 71 yards with three interceptions.
The Aggies finished with 564 total yards for their eighth
straight game with at least 500 yards.
Manziel had with 273 yards passing and 67 yards rushing. Two of
his touchdown passes went to Labhart, a former walk-on who had four
receptions for 83 yards.
Sumlin was encouraged by another solid performance by his
defense after the unit struggled for most of the year. He was
especially pleased by the turnovers the group forced.
”Anytime you do that you’re starting to get some confidence,”
he said. ”We’ve been able to rotate a lot of different guys over
the last two weeks and get some energy.”
The Aggies were up 36-7 at halftime and picked up where they
left off in the third quarter. Manziel zigzagged down the field
with a bevy of defenders trailing him on a 49-yard touchdown run to
push the lead to 43-7.
Manziel connected with Mike Evans for a 26-yard touchdown later
in the third to make it 50-7 and end Manziel’s night. A 57-yard
reception by LaQuvionte Gonzalez the play before set up the
Texas A&M’s Floyd Raven blocked a punt on UTEP’s first
possession that rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety
to make it 2-0. It was A&M’s first blocked punt for a safety
The Miners forced a three-and-out on A&M’s first drive to
end a streak of seven straight games with a touchdown on the first
possession for the Aggies. It was only the second time since coach
Kevin Sumlin took over for the 2012 season that the Aggies went
three plays and punted on the game’s first possession.
UTEP took a 7-2 lead when Aaron Jones ran 4 yards for a
touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Manziel and the Aggies got going after that, taking the lead on
a 44-yard touchdown reception by Labhart. Labhart was wide open on
the play and waltzed into the end zone untouched to make it
Tra Carson’s 1-yard touchdown run extended the lead to 15-7.
Drew Kaser’s run failed after the touchdown.
De’Vante Harris gave A&M the ball right back when he
intercepted Sullivan on the next play.
”We fed off each other the whole night,” Harris said. ”Had
people making plays. We gelled and all just played with good
Manziel’s 50th career touchdown pass came when he found Malcome
Kennedy on a 15-yard score that left A&M up 22-7.
UTEP’s Leslie Jordan fumbled on the next possession and Darian
Clairborne recovered for the Aggies. Manziel dived headfirst into
the end zone at the end of a 10-yard run to give A&M a 29-7
UTEP’s turnover woes continued on the next drive when Sullivan
was intercepted by Matthews. The Aggies cashed in on the miscue two
plays later when Manziel found Labhart ridiculously open again on a
17-yard touchdown reception to leave them up 36-7 at halftime.
Freshman Kenny Hill took over when Manziel went to the bench and
he led a drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown run by Trey
Williams that made it 57-7.
Carson was injured and taken off the field on a stretcher in the
fourth quarter, but Sumlin said after the game that he was OK. He
was hurt when he was tackled on a carry and fumbled the ball. He
was sitting up and moving his arms and legs right after it happened
before lying down on his back on the ground.
Trainers tended to him for a couple of minutes before a
stretcher was brought onto the field and he was strapped to it and
taken off the field.
Sumlin said Carson was complaining of neck pain so he was placed
on the stretcher as a precaution. X-rays were negative and he was
not taken to the hospital and remained at the stadium with the team
after the game.
”All signs point to it being nothing very serious,” Sumlin