=== Manziel, Texas A&M rout Mississippi State ===
Starkville, MS (Sports Network) - Johnny Manziel threw for 311 yards and
rushed for two touchdowns as 16th-ranked Texas A&M delivered a 38-13 drubbing
of No. 17 Mississippi State in a key SEC West clash from Davis Wade Stadium.
Manziel finished with 129 rushing yards and completed 30-of-36 pass attempts
in a nearly flawless display for Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2 SEC), which piled up a
whopping 693 total yards for the game and scored 24 unanswered points in the
first half en route to its impressive result.
"Manziel, he is a ball player," Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks
remarked afterward. "He did a great job managing the offense. They (Texas A&M)
got the job done."
Ryan Swope contributed 121 yards on nine catches in the Aggies' seventh win in
their last eight outings, while Ben Malena rushed for 112 yards and a
Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2) fell behind 31-0 in the third quarter in being
dealt its second straight lopsided loss after a 7-0 start. The Bulldogs were
handed a 38-7 throttling by top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa a week ago.
"That was as bad as of a performance that I think we've had here in a long
time," said Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen of Saturday's setback.
Tyler Russell threw for 212 yards with one touchdown and one interception on
19-of-30 passing, with Chad Bumphis ending with 50 yards and a score on four
catches in defeat.
Texas A&M's offense asserted its dominance right from the start, with Manziel
engineering long touchdown drives on each of the Aggies' first three
possessions to give his team a commanding 21-0 lead just over three minutes
into the second quarter.
The prolific redshirt freshman accumulated 38 passing yards and 26 rushing on
the opening series, a 10-play, 73-yard march highlighted by Manziel's 24-yard
connection with Mike Evans to the MSU 12 on 3rd-and-2. Manziel later scrambled
for nine yards to the Bulldogs' 1 before Malena knifed across the goal line on
the next snap.
Texas A&M had its ground game humming on the subsequent touch. Thomas Johnson
ripped off a 33-yard run into Mississippi State territory to begin the drive,
and Christine Michael capped the nine-play, 79-yard sequence by breaking loose
on a draw in a 3rd-and-11 situation. The 22-yard score extended the margin to
14-0 with 3:11 left in the first quarter.
Mississippi State again failed to get a stop on the Aggies' next trip, with
A&M converting on third down on three occasions during the 11-play, 87-yard
jaunt. On the last one, a 3rd-and-10 from the MSU 37, Manziel broke
containment after first looking downfield to pass and wasn't brought down
until reaching the end zone and staking the Aggies to a 21-point advantage
with 11:57 left in the half.
"Johnny has the green light to take off when he wants," said Texas A&M head
coach Kevin Sumlin. "He was able to do some great things with his feet this
game, especially on third downs. We were also getting some great downfield
blocks for him."
The Bulldogs mustered just 43 total yards over their initial three
possessions, but finally generated some momentum on the fourth. A 15-yard
Wildcat scamper by Dak Prescott on 3rd-and-5 moved Mississippi State into the
red zone, though it would come up empty when Russell overshot his target in
the end zone on fourth down from the Aggies' 11.
Texas A&M promptly went 83 yards in 10 plays, with Manziel starting things off
with a 30-yard completion to Swope and going 5-for-6 for 59 yards on the
series, which ended in a Taylor Bertolet 24-yard field goal that enabled the
Aggies to eventually take a 24-0 lead into intermission.
The Aggies kept on rolling after the break, grinding out 75 yards on nine
plays to christen the third quarter. Manziel came through with a pair of long
runs on the march, a 19-yard scramble on 3rd-and-7 that moved the chains and a
23- yard keeper to the Bulldogs' 4 that set up Michael's 1-yard plunge for a
Mississippi State would finally get on the board midway through the third
quarter. Russell found Smith for a 42-yard gain to ignite a four-play, 58-yard
sequence that culminated with a 14-yard touchdown strike to Bumphis with 8:01
left in the period.
Russell was intercepted by De'Vante Harris at the Texas A&M 13 on the
Bulldogs' following drive, but the Mississippi State defense forced an errant
field goal try from Bertolet shortly afterward and pulled within 31-13 on
Russell's 4-yard touchdown run with 9:11 left, wrapping up a nine-play, 75-
yard jaunt in which the MSU triggerman went 5-for-5 for 48 yards through the
Russell couldn't make good on a 2-point conversion attempt while under
pressure, however, keeping the Bulldogs' deficit at 18 points.
The Aggies had little problem moving downfield on their next touch, however,
with Malena accounting for 52 yards (30 rushing, 22 receiving) on a nine-play,
65-yard drive that ended with Manziel taking it in from eight yards away with
just under six minutes to play for the game's final score.
The teams were meeting for the first time since the 2000 Independence Bowl,
dubbed the "Snow Bowl" after a freak blizzard that hit Shreveport on game day.
Mississippi State, which won 43-41 in overtime, wore all-white uniforms to
commemorate the contest ... Texas A&M has now scored a touchdown on its
opening drive in six straight games ... The game was the first at Davis Wade
Stadium pitting two ranked teams since Sept. 20, 2011, when No. 17 MSU hosted
18th-ranked South Carolina ... The Bulldogs have now lost nine consecutive
games against ranked teams and are just 2-15 when facing such foes during
Mullen's four-year tenure.
11/03 18:45:21 ET