Dallas Colleges: Texas A&M football
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Maybe Johnny Manziel and his Texas A&M Aggies aren't quite ready for their SEC coming out.
Even in a game they dominated.
Two second-quarter turnovers led to two touchdowns and helped No. 6 LSU erase a 12-point second-quarter deficit for a 24-19 SEC win at Kyle Field Saturday. Despite a 410-316 yardage edge for the Aggies, No. 18 Texas A&M had five turnovers, including three interceptions for Manziel, who completed 29 of 56 passes for 276 yards.
It was over when: LSU running back Jeremy Hill took a power run 47 yards for a touchdown with 3:12 left. The play was eerily similar to his 50-yard touchdown that gave the Tigers a 23-21 win over South Carolina last week. Manziel was intercepted by LSU's Tharold Simon on the play before -- Manziel's third of the game -- doubling his season total.
Game ball goes to: Hill, the LSU true freshman running back who rambled for 127 yards on 18 carries, again breaking out the big run when the game was on the line.
Key stat: 5-0. The turnover margin. After LSU gave up a first-quarter touchdown drive and a field goal drive, the Tigers figured out A&M's spread offense, harassed the slippery Manziel and forced turnovers. Texas A&M jumped to a 9-0 first-quarter lead that increased to 12-0 in the second quarter, but did not score another touchdown until the game's final two minutes.
Key play: Zach Mettenberger's 29-yard touchdown pass to Kadron Boone with 11 seconds left in the first half. After the Aggies had dominated the half, Boone made a nice double move, then a diving catch to give LSU a shocking 14-12 halftime lead.
The touchdown was set up by a Ben Malena fumble, forced by Ronald Martin and recovered by Lamin Barrow.
What it means: Ready or not, LSU (7-1, 3-1) has its showdown with No. 1 Alabama in two weeks and the Tigers will have a lot to work on during its off week. The Tigers had triple-digit penalty yards and, as has often been the case, could not consistently move the chains.
Texas A&M (4-2, 2-2) is now 0-2 against the SEC powers, both close losses at home. The Aggies have shown they belong, but maybe aren't quite ready for prime time.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Football was at the heart of Texas A&M's motivation for moving to the SEC, but it wasn't the only thing, nor was it everything.
Joining the country's premier football conference, one that has produced the last six BCS champions, was of great appeal, as was the tremendous media-rights revenue that comes with being an SEC member. But it was also an opportunity for the Aggies, at every step, to ensure that it turns into an opportunity for brand expansion.
"It's interesting that part of our deliberations in the conference move, we never did talk about what our football record was going to be in 2012," said Jason Cook, Texas A&M's vice president for marketing and communications. "This was truly a brand move for Texas A&M. Just like the University of Texas wants the Longhorn Network to expand their brand, we believe that the move to the SEC provides the opportunity to expand the Texas A&M brand on a national level."
And the effect has already been seen in Aggieland and beyond. Cook said that licensing revenues are up 23 percent in the last year. Texas A&M has become part of the national football discussion because of its move to the SEC, and that could be seen at SEC media days when the Aggies had the chance to introduce themselves.
"Texas A&M is part of the national conversation right now," Cook said. "We're coming off a 7-6 season, but if you look back, Texas A&M has been part of the national dialogue in the sports world for over a year now. Obviously, sometimes we stub our toe, and it's national news now. But that's what being a national brand is all about. So we're part of the media dialogue, the SEC media days was a tremendous platform for us to introduce Texas A&M to a new part of the country and a new group of media outlets, so you can look at it from a media attention standpoint and also from a collegiate licensing area."
Cook said Texas A&M is using the SEC move as a chance to "wipe the slate clean" and introduce Texas A&M to the rest of the country.
"A lot of people are interested in Texas A&M, they're wanting to learn about Texas A&M, yet not a lot of people understand that we have 50,000 students, that we are one of the top 20 universities in the country, that we have over $700 million in research that happens on our campus every year," Cook said. "They're wanting to find out more about us and sometimes they don't have the context of our traditions and our spirit and our sense of family that we have.
"But that's where we see the SEC move as a great opportunity to really wipe the slate clean and introduce people to the true Texas A&M brand without it being filtered by some of the other institutions here in the state of Texas."
Cook also said that Texas A&M works hard to ensure the brand stays consistent between athletics and the university, rather than the two being separate identities.
"Here at Texas A&M we have a completely different approach in that we truly have a one-brand approach," Cook said. "If you look at the logo on the side of our football helmets, it's the same logo for the academic side and we work in a very integrated manner, not only athletics but across marketing, communications and social media and then our licensing program as well. So we're a little unique in that manner. We have this one brand approach and a coordinated effort."
“We did get to see a lot of players,” Sherman said. “We will have some good tape to watch and an opportunity to improve in all areas of the game. We did have some guys miss the scrimmage, but that gives other players opportunities for work and for them to get better.”
Sherman singled out a pair of freshman running backs, Cedar Hill's Ben Malena and Mister Jones (yes, that's his real name) from Littleton, Colo.
The Aggies will return to practice Monday morning after a day off.
Here's some of his thoughts on what's transpired on a whirlwind signing day morning:
*Tough one for TCU: Oregon snags 4-star RB recruit Josh Huff out of Aldine (Texas) Nimitz. "Josh Huff may be the most underrated player in the Lone Star state. Explosive ability as a playmaker."
*Dallas Skyline High School outside linebacker Corey Nelson to Oklahoma over A&M is a big one both nationally and in the state of Texas.
*Another tough one or A&M is former commit Shreveport Huntington WR Jarrett Fobbs is sending his LOI to LSU.
*Waco Midway safety Ahmad Dixon sticking with with Baylor.
The Aggies have averaged 465.3 yards per game, which leads the Big 12 and is fifth in the nation. In fact, Texas A&M is the only team in the country to be in the top-25 of four offensive categories -- total offense (No. 5), scoring offense (No. 15), passing offense (No. 22) and rushing offense (No. 25).
Texas A&M is one of two teams that averages over 80 offensive plays per game.
It's a dramatic increase in output from 2008, when the Aggies averaged 340.9 yards of offense per game.
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