Saturday, October 6, 2012
Manziel leads Aggies past Ole Miss
By David Helman
The legend of Johnny Manziel continues to grow.
No, Texas A&M's freshman quarterback was nowhere near as impressive as his 453 yards and three touchdowns in last week's drubbing of Arkansas. In fact, he contributed to three of the Aggies six turnovers in Texas A&M's 30-27 win against Ole Miss on Saturday night.
Manziel's performance against the Rebels might have been more impressive, though -- if not as statistically sound. Trailing 27-17 in the fourth quarter of the first SEC road game of his career, Manziel led Texas A&M on scoring drives of 88 and 39 yards in less than nine minutes to steal a 30-27 win from Ole Miss.
It looked for all the world that the Rebels had sealed their first SEC victory in more than two years when they recovered a muffed punt on Texas A&M's 5-yard line in the last minute of the third quarter. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace found wide receiver Donte Moncrief for a 4-yard touchdown two plays later, and the Rebels held what looked like an insurmountable 10-point lead.
Manziel didn't do much to dispel that notion when he threw his second interception of the night on his first drive of the fourth quarter. Five minutes later the freshman came inches away from a safety when he was sacked near his own goal line. But the magic kicked in on 3rd-and-19 from the Aggies' 3-yard line, when Manziel found Mike Evans for an improbable 32-yard gain.
Two plays later, Manziel darted around four Ole Miss defenders and raced 29 yards to a touchdown to cut the score to 27-23. Faced with giving the ball back to Manziel, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 from his own 39 -- a run the Aggies promptly stuffed.
From there, Manziel needed just four plays to find receiver Ryan Swope for a 20-yard touchdown and the lead with just 1:46 to play. Wallace, who threw for a career-high 305 yards on the night, could not hold serve on Ole Miss' last-gasp drive, as he tossed his second pick of the night to the Aggies defense.
All told, Manziel threw for 191 yards and a score, and he provided 129 of the Aggies' whopping 290 rushing yards. Since dropping the season opener to Florida, the freshman has led Texas A&M to a 4-1 record and a 2-1 mark in its new conference. Not too shabby.