Aggies find success in 1st SEC season

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 25, 2012
No. 10 Texas A&M has reached 10 wins for the first time since 1998. The accomplishment is even sweeter for the Aggies because of the skeptics who predicted they'd struggle in their first season in the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M wrapped up its regular season Saturday night with a 59-29 win over fellow SEC newcomer Missouri. This is its first season of double-digit wins since an 11-3 record in 1998. The Aggies aren't surprised. They say they knew they'd have a good year after leaving the Big 12. ''People acted like we were going to be some kind of doormat or something,'' senior linebacker Sean Porter said. ''But this entire time we had a lot of confidence.'' Coach Kevin Sumlin said he heard three concerns about his team repeatedly entering the season. They were that the Aggies didn't have an established quarterback after Ryan Tannehill was taken drafted eighth overall, that his offense wouldn't work in the SEC, and that his defensive front was thin. The Aggies answered the first question in resounding fashion as freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel won the starting job near the end of training camp and went on to account for 4,600 yards of total offense. He has thrown for 24 touchdowns and ran for 19 this season to make him one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy. He's a big reason why Sumlin's high-flying offense succeeded in perhaps the toughest defensive league in the country. The Aggies are third in the nation in total offense with 552 yards a game. The unit has also been helped by a veteran offensive line and the development of freshman receiver Mike Evans. The 6-foot-5 former high school basketball star, led the Aggies with 75 receptions for 1,022 yards. As for the defense, defensive end Damontre Moore led a group that excelled in its switch from a 3-4 scheme to the 4-3 under first-year defensive coordinator Mark Snyder. Moore, who moved from outside linebacker to end, has a team-leading 12 1/2 sacks and 20 tackles for losses this season. ''I think that these guys kind of took (the criticism) to heart and they set a tone for this program that: `You know what, not only can we compete but we can win,''' Sumlin said. The Aggies also used last season's struggles as motivation this year. They entered 2011 with a top-10 ranking only to finish a disappointing 7-6 in a season which ended with the firing of coach Mike Sherman. ''The type of season we had last year was just a nightmare of a season,'' offensive lineman Patrick Lewis said. ''We just tried to put it behind us, almost as if it didn't happen. This is a new team and we had high expectations.'' Sumlin believes much of the credit for his team's success goes to A&M's seniors. He called on them to step up when a hurricane postponed the Aggies opener and forced them to play their entire schedule without a week off. ''Those guys have really contributed and led this team,'' Sumlin said. ''As a coaching staff we're forever grateful for them because they didn't sign up for us ... there's no way that we could have won half as many games as we did this year if those guys didn't buy in and lead this football team.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kyrie Irving takes blame for Cavs’ recent skid: ‘I need to demand more out of myself’

Six NFL teams have not renewed their daily fantasy deals

Adrian Peterson works out with Jameis Winston, gets Dirk Koetter’s attention

Report: Martavis Bryant reinstatement ‘imminent’

Steven Stamkos close to return for the Tampa Bay Lightning

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: CBS wants Tony Romo to replace Phil Simms

Warriors provide update on Kevin Durant, who could play this season

Griffin to wear shoes designed by young leukemia patient

Jack Del Rio frustrated Raiders can’t provide support to Aldon Smith

Bengals owner admits he could be ‘overtolerant’ with Pacman Jones

Rumor: Panthers trying to acquire No. 2 pick from 49ers

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

Box Score 3/29: Free hats (Caps fans only)

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Box Score 3/28: Wilt's last game

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The 28 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 season

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker