the latest

« Sports

Texas A&M Holds Off Bulldogs

Johnny Manziel shines in what is most likely his last game at Kyle Field
Rod Machen, 1:10pm, Mon. Nov. 11, 2013

This year’s Texas A&M football team is a study in contrasts: a high-powered offense that leads the Southeastern Conference in points and yards versus a defense ranked dead last. A 51-41 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs showed just what that looks like.

QB Johnny Manziel had another fascinating outing, throwing for 446 yards on 30 of 39 passing while rushing for 47 more. On the night, he threw for five TDs but also tossed three interceptions, two of which came near the Bulldog goal line as the Aggies were set to score.

These miscues, along with untimely three-and-outs in the second half, kept a sub-par defense on the field far too often, especially late in the game. The Aggie defenders held MSU to just one touchdown in each of the first three quarters, but gave up three more in the fourth. A defense that is average at best showed its worst on tired legs late in the game.

Ultimately the Aggies prevailed, as QB Dak Prescott (154 yards on the ground, 149 through the air) couldn’t lead Bulldogs any closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter.

WR Mike Evans lead all receivers with 116 yards on just five catches, while Travis Labhart and Malcome Kennedy each caught a pair of touchdowns. RBs Trey Williams and Ben Malena each scored a touchdown, as did TE Nehemiah Hicks, a senior from Hutto.

The Aggie special teams had another big day. For the second week in a row, the squad blocked a punt for a safety, this time pulled off by Sam Moeller, this week’s Twelfth Man. In the return game, Trey Williams came oh-so-close to scoring  on a 100-yard kickoff return, but a diving somersault into the end zone resulted in the points being taken off the board due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The speedy Williams will have to wait for his first special teams score.

As the last home game of the season, the team’s seniors were honored, but two other players were foremost on fans’ minds. Manziel and Evans, both sophomores, are expected to turn pro after this season, with millions of NFL dollars beckoning. For Johnny Football, it’ll mean an end to the intense scrutiny of being a sports celebrity while having to navigate the NCAA rules on amateurism. For Evans, it’ll mean a big payday for him and his family after having played football for a total of just four years. Both will be missed, and Manziel got in one more camera-worthy moment as he jumped into the student section to sing the Aggie War Hymn.

Pregame ceremonies included a groundbreaking for the new Kyle Field, on which construction has already started. By the beginning of next season, a south end zone addition will be finished along with other renovations as part of a two-year, $450 million project that will bring capacity north of 100,000. Between a new stadium and, in all likelihood, a new starting quarterback, big changes lie ahead for the Aggies.

Next in Sports: Texecutioners Speeding for Gold »