Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, Cotton Bowl: 5 Things We Learned
In a match-up of former big 12 rivals, Texas A&M served notice to both the SEC and the rest of college football after dominating Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl Classic 41-13.
Most fans wondered if there was a chance of a Heisman letdown by Aggies' quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The Sooners received their answer early, and Manziel proved the entire night that he was truly worthy of becoming the first freshman to win college football’s award for Most Outstanding Player.
The play of the Sooners' defense, however, left much to be desired. 5 THINGS WE LEARNED
Johnny Manziel is the truth
The question defensive coordinators in college football will all be asking themselves this offseason is fairly obvious when it comes to the current most exciting player in the sport -- how in the world do you stop Johnny Manziel?
There is only so much a defense can not only prepare for but execute in a given game. How do handle someone how looks every bit the accomplished passer that his a runner? Don’t bother asking the Oklahoma Sooners' defense, as they are coming off allowing a whopping 633 yards of total offense to the Aggies in last night’s Cotton Bowl, with Manziel accounting for 516 by himself, a Cotton Bowl record for combined yardage by a single player.
The tone was set early, on A&M’s first drive, which culminated in the Heisman sensation skipping and dancing down the left sideline for the first score of the game. Manziel was anywhere and everywhere he wanted to be, rushing 17 times for 229 yards and completing 22 of 34 for almost 300 yards (287).
He was equally judicious in scoring his touchdown, with two rushing in the 1st half and two passing in the 2nd half. It was some kind of encore performance for Manziel, and this showing was the perfect exclamation point to one of the great seasons a collegiate football player has enjoyed.
Manziel finished the year setting the school record for TD passes at 20, and became only the 4th player in history to score at least 20 TD’s both passing and rushing in one year, joining Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, and Colin Kaepernick.
Texas A&M wants you to remember
Hopes are high College Station right about now. With a wood shed beating of Oklahoma as their parting gift to the Big-12 and enduring only two losses in their maiden season playing in the vaunted SEC, it is truly good to be an Aggie.
To make things better, this was all done in the first year of both the head coach and the star quarterback. With its losses to Florida by 3 at home and at LSU by 5, A&M had no trouble matching up with teams in the conference responsible for the last 6 BSC champions. Additionally, its signature win in Tuscaloosa over Alabama showed the country that they are indeed ready for prime time.
Currently ranked 9th in the BCS standings (and certain to ascend when the final rankings are released), the arrow is pointing up for a team many thought would get swallowed up by the larger more athletic teams in college football’s most competitive conference.
With an enormous pool of high school football talent in Texas from which to draw from, after last night’s epic display by Manziel can only serve to attract much better football talent than A&M has had previously. The Aggies just made the statement that they are here to stay.
Oklahoma has a lot to fix
It is hard to recall a Sooner team looking as outclassed as they did last night. One might say the length of time between the last game of the regular season and last night’s affair (1 month, 3 days) could cause a team to look so sluggish and unprepared. That would be a plausible excuse except for the fact that the Sooners were never that good this year to begin with.
They finished 2-3 against ranked teams, with the most glaring defeat being a 30-13 home white washing at the hands of Notre Dame. Senior quarterback Landry Jones seemed to regress, not racking up the big yards and TD’s he had in years past.
Oklahoma finished 50th in nation in points allowed, a key area to be addressed next year. They should still finish in the top 25 in the BCS final standings, but Boomer Sooner nation will expect nothing short of top 10 or better next year.