Freshman quarterbacks aren’t supposed to be this good, and hardly ever win big, huge games. Not against number one teams. But Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M is something else, leading the Aggies to one of the biggest BCS busters of the year, taking down #1 Alabama in what might cost an SEC team not just an undefeated season, but the national title for the first time in seven years.
Johnny Manziel became the second freshman quarterback to win a game against the AP top-ranked team on the road. The only other freshman QB to beat the AP’s top-ranked team on the road was Oklahoma’s Charles Thompson who won at No. 1 Nebraska in 1987. Big enough for you? A first in the BCS era. Manziel threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns, running for 92 more. He didn’t throw any interceptions, he completed 24-31 passes. Perfect? Not far from it.
Just how big was the Aggies achievement offensively? Alabama’s defense has allowed 46 points in it’s last 2 games after allowing a total of 65 points in its first 8 games combined. The Aggies posted 29 points against a team that allowed only 9.1 per game. They were up 20-0 after the first quarter, and it was wild chase from there for the Crimson Tide, who preferred to stick to A.J. McCarron’s arm instead of using their best and possibly unstoppable weapon this season – running. The Aggies held Alabama to “only” 122 yards on the ground, and an average of 3.9 per carry. Alabama didn’t run the ball once during the final stand, and possibly paid for it, dearly.
A&M proved a lot of things, not just about themselves but about College Football and the SEC. Johnny Manziel has become the 2nd freshman in FBS history with 2,000 pass yards and 1,000 rush yards in the same season, joining Brad Smith of Missouri, who did it in 2002 and in 2005. He’s the 12th player in FBS history, in any class, to go 2,000-1,000 in the same season (including Northern Illinois junior Jordan Lynch, who has already done it this season).
A&M are now 8-2, and will probably get a nice bump from #15 into the top 10 of the rankings in both the polls and the BCS. The chances of them losing a game against Sam Houston State and Missouri is small. A 10-2 record looks reachable, very possible. They probably won’t win the SEC East (unless Georgia mess up somehow), but suddenly there’s a very good chance they get into a BCS Bowl, with many saying the Fiesta Bowl would love to have the Aggies, unlike all the talk of a possible Texas – Texas A&M showdown in the Cotton Bowl.
A&M haven’t been to a BCS Bowl since the 1998 season, when they played Ohio State in the Suger Bowl, losing 24-14. They haven’t finished in the top of either poll since 1994. Suddenly, thanks to a great job by Kevin Sumlin on his first year with the program, along with first year OC Kliff Kingsbury and DC Mark Snyder, not to mention a Freshman quarterback who should be in the running for the Heisman trophy, A&M’s first venture into the field of the SEC has been incredibly successful and against all chances, had a huge impact on the national championship outlook.