Once in a while, teams like the Texas A&M Aggies like to show that they’re more than just a one-team player, turning to other aspects of their game and not just rely on the skills of Johnny Manziel.
Not that the Heisman Trophy winner from last year had a bad game: He threw for a couple of touchdowns, throwing for 261 yards and ran for 59 more as A&M beat Arkansas 45-33 as they should be propelled beyond 10th in the nation after a loss to LSU. However, this time, it was much more than just Manziel who was responsible for the win.
The Aggies finished with more rushing yards (262) than passing yards (261) since their win over Oklahoma in last year’s bowl game, enjoying having all four scholarship running backs available to use. Trey Williams had his best game of the season with 83 yards, and was followed by Tra Carson with 64 yards and Ben Malena, who ran for 40 and a couple of touchdowns.
I think it just shows another dimension of our offense. People look at our offense being so spread out, being the ‘Air Raid’ offense, but I think we had two or three drives where we didn’t throw the ball but maybe one or two times. I think it just shows how good our offensive line is and how talented our running backs are.
While the A&M defense is looking better than it did earlier in the year, it still gave up 33 points to the Razorbacks. However, they did force two turnovers on Arkansas, which were enough to be the difference in another game that proved what a different direction the SEC has taken in recent years,with Old-School football approaches being a thing of the past in a division that was known for physicality. Now it’s mostly about speed and offense.
Texas A&M scored more than 40 points in its eighth straight game, the longest such streak in school history, and it has a lot to do with Manziel being a part of this program. Regardless of what it may say about his chances to succeed in the pros, Manziel is as close to an unstoppable quarterback as they come in College Football, although we’re not seeing A&M being good enough to roll over everyone like Cam Newton did for Auburn in 2010.
The Aggies still believe they can catch up with Alabama, meaning not dropping one more game until the rest of the season and hoping somewhere along the way, the Tide fall down. Having a minimum-risk policy for the offense seems like quite a big key, considering Manziel’s turnovers were the biggest reason A&M lost to Alabama.
Finding their running game that doesn’t have anything to do with their quarterback is crucial to that approach. Not a single turnover against Arkansas doesn’t mean smooth sailing from here on out, but it does make a very good case for the team to continue this minimum mistake approach until the end of the season, taking some pressure of Manziel.
We ask him to make plays and he makes plays. He took care of the ball, but sometimes he does need a bit more help from those around him.