someone remind aggie's A.D. that only coach saban and the MAN UPSTAIRS controls the TIDE. we all politely and quietly smiled,that he thought he and the moon had ANY say in the matter.
* 28-of-39 passing for 464 yards
* Five touchdown passes (against two interceptions)
* 14 rushes for 98 additional yards
* A 562-yard one-man performance as part of a 628-yard day overall
Even if you hadn’t already seen the highlights and box score from Saturday’s Johnny Manziel show, you would have likely guessed, “Johnny Football!” if asked what college football player had posted such eye-popping numbers. But would anyone have guessed those digits had come against top-ranked Alabama?
So the verdict from Saturday: Manziel looks just as good — if not better — than he did a year ago. An offseason of tweets and autographs hasn’t held back Texas A&M’s QB one iota when it comes to on-field performance. In fact, Bama had all offseason to prepare for the Aggie superstar and it made no difference. Spies. Mush rush. Good athletes. All torched by Manziel’s remarkable touch on the ball and his fleet-footed escapability.
At the same time, the 2013 Alabama Crimson Tide haven’t looked a whole lot like the 2012 or 2011 BCS champion Tide… aside from that whole undefeated thing, of course.
If/when Kirby Smart finally decides to depart Tuscaloosa and seriously chase a head coaching job, don’t expect Bama’s performance in Saturday’s contest to be listed on his resume. His defense — Alabama’s defense — was put to the sword to the tune of 464 yards passing and 164 yards rushing. The Red Elephants were saved by two interceptions of Manziel, one of which was returned 73 yards for a touchdown on a fantastic run by Vinnie Sunseri. In the end, that was enough for a 49-42 UA win. (We took the Tide 35-28, for the record).
In Game One, Alabama’s offense struggled. In Game Three, AJ McCarron and the Tide offense had to bail their defensive counterparts out.
Expect Nick Saban’s rebuilt defense to improve. After all, there aren’t many one-man wrecking crews like Manziel dotting the college football landscape and we all know how well Bama has recruited in recent years. But at this stage, Bama’s defense doesn’t look like its old self. In last year’s 23-17 loss to Manziel and the Aggies, for example, Alabama allowed 19 fewer points and just 418 total yards of offense. So, yes, there is reason for some concern in the UA football complex today. You don’t yield 628 yards and laugh it off.
Even though Manziel really is that good.
On his best behavior Saturday, the biggest CBS football audience since 1990 fell in love with his skills all over again. There is no player like him today. Just as Tim Tebow and Cam Newton appeared to be “once in a generation” players, Manziel is the latest to wow America with “how’d he do that?” plays and moves. Just imagine how much positive hype this kid would be getting had he not shared his every offseason move with half-a-million Twitter followers.
On Saturday, he erred in the turnover department — A&M lost that battle 2-1 after winning it 3-0 in last year’s matchup — but Manziel’s overall performance was coruscant considering the pre-game hype and the foe. His 562 yards of total offense were the most ever racked up by an SEC player against an SEC defense.
So is Alabama’s defense not as good as it was in 2012? Is Manziel really as good as he looked on Saturday?
Yes. On both counts.