Johnny Manziel taunts opponents
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Johnny Manziel spent the summer under scrutiny for his actions off the field. His antics Saturday are sure to keep the spotlight on him.
After serving a half-game suspension for an "inadvertent" NCAA violation for signing autographs, Manziel returned to throw three touchdowns and helped No. 7 Texas A&M put away Rice 52-31.
But he also was in the face of Rice players for most of his time in the game, and he eventually drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a touchdown throw in the fourth quarter. Manziel was talking to two Rice defenders and then pointed to the scoreboard when officials threw the flag.
That play proved to be his last of the game. Matt Joeckel replaced Manziel on A&M's final drive.
"That wasn't very smart and that's why he didn't go back in the game," A&M coach Kevin Sumlin told ESPN after the game. "I hoped that at this point he'd have learned something."
When Sumlin was asked if he was planning on taking Manziel out of the game after that touchdown drive, even before the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Sumlin said, "No."
Earlier, Manziel walked down the field while rubbing his thumb and forefingers together, a gesture that usually means "money." He also gestured that way after big plays last season.
Then, after a short run, Manziel got to his feet while jawing with Rice linebacker Nick Elder and mimed signing an autograph while shaking his head. Elder tweeted about the incident after the game.
@espn I was the one who johnny was talking too. He said "what's up nick, nice hit." True story— Nick Elder (@NickElder1) August 31, 2013
Sumlin said he did not talk to Manziel specifically about the verbal sparring the quarterback might receive on the field from opponents after his eventful offseason, because he addresses those types of things with the whole team.
"We talk about a lot of different things, not specifically about what's going to happen during a game," Sumlin said. "And we had another young man who was thrown out of the game who is a freshman [Daeshon Hall]. And I didn't see what happened there, but the officials told me what happened. And we've got to grow as a team and mature as a team. Individual acts like that hurt your football team. We talk about that in general, all the time. I don't talk to individual players all the time about those things before the game because you can't forsee everything. But what you can do is have a plan for it."
Manziel completed 6 of 8 passes for 94 yards and ran for 19 more.
Last year's Heisman Trophy winner wasn't the only problem for A&M on Saturday. Hall was ejected for fighting and junior cornerback Deshazor Everett, who was suspended for the first half after an offseason arrest, also was ejected late in the game for targeting.
Everett will have to sit out the first half of the next game because his targeting ejection occurred in the second half of this game.
Before the game, A&M announced the suspensions of four players for two games -- senior linebacker Steven Jenkins, junior defensive end Gavin Stansbury, sophomore cornerback De'Vante Harris and redshirt freshman receiver Edward Pope -- for "violating athletics department rules and regulations."
ESPN.com's Sam Khan Jr. contributed to this report.
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