Instant Analysis: Johnny Manziel's Day
Posted Aug 31, 2013

The analysis of Texas A&M's win over Rice ... and Manziel's day.

By Russ Mitchell
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Well, that should just about end the mystery over whether (a) this TAMU team can be good without Johnny Football under center, (b) this TAMU team can be good with Johnny Football under center, and (c) Johnny Football is going to remain a lightning rod of controversy.

To that add the first SEC player disqualified for the new targeting rule. But more on that in a minute.

At least Rice made things interesting in the first quarter. Many folks got introduced to the dynamic senior quarterback Taylor McHargue. The Cedar Park, Texas product turned the first 15 minutes into his own personal highlight reel.

There was a point in the first quarter where McHargue was 4/5 for 64 yards and a touchdown, plus two carries for 75 yards. He looked downright…well…Johnny Football-ish.

We're pretty sure spotting Rice 175 yards of offense and 14 points in the first ten minutes wasn't part of the NCAA Manziel punishment.

However, after that things settled down for a TAMU defense that was playing without six suspended players.

Sophomore Matt Joeckel did a fine job leading the offense, finishing 14/19 for 190 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. And Malena, Carson and Williams ALL ran for more than 5 yards per carry. We've advised you to watch out for TAMU's tailbacks this season, and they didn't disappoint on Saturday.

But it was when Manziel stepped onto the field at the start of the third quarter that things really started clicking for the Aggies. The entire team seemed to adopt Manziel's persona, ramping up both its play and attitude.

Manziel finished with 6/8 passing for 94 yards and three touchdowns, to go with 19 yards rushing. He also notched a personal foul for taunting late in the game that got the Heisman winner benched for the final series.

On the day, Rice actually outgained TAMU with 509 yards to the Aggies 486. But as the game wore on, it became clear that Rice was out-matched, even with a good senior quarterback and a bevy of starters returning from a 2012 bowl team that won its last five games. In the end, Sumlin's offense keeps on hummin'.

On a side note, junior starting cornerback Deshazor Everett was disqualified midway through the fourth quarter for a targeting penalty. The ambiguous nature of this new rule will continue to cause havoc throughout this season. Everett's hit on a defenseless Klein Kubiak was without doubt a personal foul, but it was far from a head shot.

Everett will now sit out the first half of TAMU's next game against Sam Houston State. Can you imagine if the Aggies' next foe had been Alabama? You don't have to imagine, or wait much longer. That outcry is coming…it's only a matter of time.