Friday, April 12, 2013
Manziel, Aggies look to build on 2012
By Brett Perrotta & Sharon Katz
AP Photo/Dave MartinWith the college basketball season in the books, College Football Live embarks on its Spring Bus Tour, visiting eight schools over the next two weeks. Today we take a trip to check out the Texas A&M Aggies.
Johnny Manziel and the Aggies ran past SEC defenses last season.
Texas A&M made a splash in its first season in the SEC, finishing with more than 10 wins for the first time since 1998 and beating former Big 12 rival Oklahoma 41-14 in the Cotton Bowl.
After winning Conference USA coach of the year honors twice in four years at Houston, Kevin Sumlin was the SEC coach of the year in his first season with the Aggies.
Sumlin’s spread offense took College Station by storm. The Aggies set a school record with 578 points and 7,260 yards, finishing in the top five in the nation in scoring and total offense.
The biggest revelation was redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. He became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, and is looking to join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winners.
Manziel shattered the SEC record for total offense in a season, accounting for over 70 percent of the Aggies yards. His 5,116 yards were nearly 800 more than the previous SEC record, set by Heisman winner Cam Newton in 2010.
He was the fifth player -- and first freshman -- in FBS history to pass for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards in the same season. The only other player from a BCS-AQ conference to hit both those marks was Vince Young in 2005.
Deep in the Heart
All four of Texas A&M’s non-conference games are against in-state schools. The Aggies have dominated recent competition against all four of these opponents, with the last loss coming to the SMU Mustangs in 1984.
In fact, the schedule sets up well for Texas A&M to make a run at its first appearance in a BCS bowl game since it played in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1998 season.
The Aggies host Alabama, who they upset in Tuscaloosa last season, in their first SEC game of the season. The other big hurdle is a trip to Baton Rouge in November, where Texas A&M will look to avenge its loss to LSU last season.
Manziel was at his best when he was improvising. He gained 857 of his 1,410 yards on the ground on scrambles. That was more than Braxton Miller, Marcus Mariota and Collin Klein combined.
In 2013, he’ll have to do so without one of his key blockers. Left tackle Luke Joeckel declared early for the NFL draft, and is currently atop the big board for both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.
The Aggies will also be without offensive coordinator Kilff Kingsbury, who took over as head coach of Texas Tech.