Heisman Winner Manziel Dazzles in Cotton Bowl Win
Oklahoma and steady veteran quarterback Landry Jones wound up being no match for Johnny Football and a former Big 12 rival.
Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel had a Cotton Bowl-record 516 total yards with four touchdowns and 10th-ranked Texas A&M wrapped up its first SEC season with a 41-13 win over the 12th-ranked Sooners on Friday night in Jones’ 50th and final career start.
When Jones threw a 6-yard TD pass to Justin Brown just before halftime, the Sooners (10-3) were down by only a point.
They didn’t score again. And after not punting before that, they opened the second half going three-and-out on their first three drives — while the Aggies (11-2) were scoring three consecutive touchdowns.
“It was obvious tonight that we didn’t play the way we should have played,” said Jones, whose frustration was evident when he yelled at a teammate after a failed fourth-down play. “We couldn’t run it. We couldn’t throw it. It happens, you know. ”
The Sooners played in the Cotton Bowl for only the second time, but faced their former Big 12 rival for the 17th consecutive season.
With first-year coach Kevin Sumlin and their young star quarterback, the Aggies are already fitting right in with the SEC. They broke the broke the SEC record with their 7,261 total yards this season (the first over 7,000 after 633 in Cowboys Stadium). They also averaged more than 40 points a game.
And they capped their debut season with an overwhelming victory in the only postseason game matching teams from the Big 12 and SEC. It is the Aggies’ first 11-win season since 1998, when they won their only Big 12 title.
The chants of “S-E-C! S-E-C!” began after Manziel’s 33-yard TD pass to Ryan Swope with 4 minutes left in the third quarter for a 34-13 lead. They got louder and longer after that.
Texas A&M never trailed after Manziel tiptoed the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown on the first drive of the game.
“To come in and go against a Big 12 rival and do everything we wanted as a team, and send these seniors out with a win, we couldn’t feel any better,” Manziel said after his first game since becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman.
Texas A&M never trailed while winning its last six games. That included its win at SEC champion Alabama, which plays for the BCS national title Monday night.
Manziel set an FBS bowl record with his 229 yards rushing on 17 carries, and completed 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards.
“Johnny Manziel is everything he was billed to be, expected him to be,” said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who after the game shook the quarterback’s hand and told him “good job.”
SEC teams have won the last five Cotton Bowls, all against Big 12 teams, and nine out of 10. That included Texas A&M’s loss to LSU only two years ago.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)