Manziel leads No. 14 A&M over Vanderbilt 56-24

Vanderbilt scored 17 straight points and had the ball first to

start the second-half with a chance to cut the lead to four points

against Texas A&M on Saturday.

But freshman Patton Robinette was intercepted on the first play

of the third quarter and Howard Matthews returned it for a

touchdown to extend the lead and squash Vanderbilt’s momentum as

No. 14 Texas A&M rolled to a 56-24 victory.

”I think that took some air out of us,” Vanderbilt coach James

Franklin said of the interception return. ”But that’s life in the

SEC. That’s big-boy football. It’s not going to go perfect. You’ve

got to overcome it and find a way to fight through it.”

Johnny Manziel threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns in less

than three quarters as the Aggies bounced back with the win.

Manziel showed no signs that the right shoulder he injured last

week was bothering him. He threw three TDs in the first quarter to

help A&M (6-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) build a 28-point

lead. He tacked on another score before sitting down with 6 minutes

left in the third quarter and the Aggies leading 42-17.

The Aggies rebounded from last week’s upset loss to Auburn

despite playing a messy game where they had five turnovers.

Robinette had a tough time in his first start filling in for the

injured Austyn Carta-Samuels for Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4). He threw

two interceptions and was sacked five times.

”We’re in a situation where our starting quarterback is not

playing right now and we’re playing a redshirt freshman,” Franklin

said. ”I think that showed up a little bit today, but he’ll learn

from that and he’ll get better.”

Mike Evans and Derel Walker had two touchdown receptions apiece

for A&M.

Texas A&M was encouraged by a better performance from a

defense that entered the game ranked 118th out of 123 in yards

allowed a game. The unit piled up seven sacks after having just

seven the entire season entering Saturday.

Jordan Matthews had eight receptions for 92 yards to become the

SEC’s all-time leader in career yards receiving with 3,172. Kenny

Ladler had an interception and forced two fumbles for the

Commodores.

Jordan Matthews was encouraged by some things he saw from

Robinette.

”There were some ups and downs with Patton, but I think he’s

going to be just fine,” he said. ”I’m happy with him, and he will

continue to get better.”

Howard Matthews’ interception return gave A&M a 35-17

lead.

”The turnovers on offense I think were really the story of the

game,” Franklin said. ”Turnovers in general are hard to overcome,

especially on the road against a good opponent.”

The Aggies missed an opportunity to pad the lead after that when

Travis Labhart caught a 3-yard pass before fumbling. Ladler caused

the fumble and it was recovered by Karl Butler in the end zone for

a touchback.

Another fumble ended A&M’s next drive. Ladler forced this

one by Tra Carson and Javon Marshall recovered it.

But Vanderbilt couldn’t convert after either of those miscues,

and Manziel extended the lead to 42-17 with a 14-yard touchdown

throw to Walker which ended the quarterback’s day.

The Aggies had great field position on that drive after a

dreadful punt by Robinette that traveled just 5 yards.

The Commodores replaced Robinette with Josh Grady after that.

But he didn’t fare any better than Robinette, throwing an

interception on his first drive. Robinette returned in the fourth

quarter and finished 15 of 28 for 216 yards.

Matt Joeckel came in for Manziel on the ensuing drive and

connected with Evans on a 10-yard touchdown pass to put A&M up

49-17.

Robinette had a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for

Vanderbilt and Brandon Williams bulled in from 7 yards out to

extend A&M’s lead later in the fourth.

Texas A&M jumped to a 28-0 lead thanks to three touchdown

throws by Manziel in the first quarter and an 11-yard run by Trey

Williams early in the second.

The Commodores made it 28-3 with a 23-yard field goal by Carey

Spear. Franklin gambled with an onside kick and Vanderbilt

recovered.

Robinette hit a wide-open Jonathan Krause on a 30-yard touchdown

pass to cut the lead to 28-10.

Ladler intercepted Manziel later in the second quarter and

returned it 32 yards to the Texas A&M 27.

Jordan Matthews broke the SEC career yards receiving record on a

17-yard reception on the first play after the interception. Jerron

Seymour’s 4-yard touchdown run got Vanderbilt within 28-17 just

before halftime.