Believe the hype: Manziel, Aggies run wild on Oklahoma

Cotton Bowl

Credit: Getty Images

Johnny Manziel of the Texas A&M Aggies runs the ball against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 4, 2013 in. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA Sports

Posted on January 5, 2013 at 12:12 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 5 at 12:57 PM

ARLINGTON -- Johnny Football. Johnny Heisman. And now Johnny Cotton Bowl.

If there was a Heisman hangover, Johnny Manziel didn't show it.

His sensational redshirt freshman season ended with a blowout win over Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, 41-13.

The Texas A&M quarterback set Cotton Bowl records for rushing yards by a quarterback (229) and total yards (516), and the Aggies' 633 total yards was also a Cotton Bowl record. Manziel scored twice on the ground and also threw a pair of touchdown passes, going 22-34 for 287 yards through the air.

"It's been crazy. It's been a ride, it's been a roller coaster, to see how things played out from the first game to now," Manziel said. "We came and played one of our best games today, and I'm not really worried about the future, not right now."

Oklahoma's senior quarterback Landry Jones, who holds most of the school's all-time passing records, suffered his first loss in a bowl game. He ends his career 3-1 in bowls, and finished this game 35-48, 278 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

It was a one-point game at halftime, with Texas A&M leading 14-13, but the Aggies outscored Oklahoma 27-0 in the second half to pull away.

"We made some adjustments, huh?" said A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin. "We don't care about time of possession. What we do care about is third down conversion. Turnovers, penalties, and third down conversions."

On A&M's first drive, Manziel ran the ball three times for 52 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown. The touchdown gave the Aggies a 7-0 lead and marked the 18th straight game in which they scored first.

The Sooners came right back and put themselves in position to tie the game, with a 2nd and goal from the one yard line. But their big running quarterback Blake Bell was stuffed on a run, then had to throw it away on third down. Oklahoma got a field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

OU got another field goal to make it 7-6 early in the 2nd quarter. When A&M got the ball back, Manziel crossed the 100-yard rushing mark with a 45-yard run that was the definition of sandlot football. The play was a great example of his speed, elusiveness, and improvisation. But his desire to ad-lib got him in trouble a few plays later, when he threw an ill-advised, sidearm pass on third down that was intercepted in the end zone.

The Sooners returned the favor when Landry Jones was picked off by Dustin Harris, giving Texas A&M the ball at the OU 48-yard line. Two big plays later, the Aggies were at the five-yard line, and Manziel took care of the rest on a bootleg play for an easy waltz into the end zone. A&M led 14-6 with 6:14 left in the 2nd quarter.

Just before the half, the Sooners put together a 13-play, 86-yard drive. Landry Jones threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Justin Brown, and the extra point kick made it a one-point game at halftime, 14-13.

In the 2nd half, Manziel came out throwing with gains of 35 and 19 yards, as the Aggies drove 91 yards in seven plays and scored on a 7-yard run from Ben Malena. A&M led 21-13 with 10:26 to play in the 3rd quarter.

After forcing a punt, the Aggies got the ball back and drove 89 yards for another touchdown, from their other running back. Trey Williams' 30-yard run gave A&M a 27-13 lead, after the missed extra point.

Then it started getting out of hand. Manziel threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Swope, then a 34-yarder to Uzoma Nwachukwu as the lead stretched out to 41-13.

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