Posted September 17, 2013 on AP on Fox
While Johnny Manziel can't be blamed for last week's loss to the nation's No. 1 team, the Texas A&M defense certainly could be. It would be hard to imagine either having a tough time Saturday night with a major drop-off in competition, a visiting SMU team the 10th-ranked Aggies have dominated the past two years. This is the same opponent against which Manziel got his first victory with a breakout performance, throwing for 294 yards and rushing for 124 while totaling six touchdowns in a 48-3 road win last Sept. 15. A year earlier without him, Texas A&M (2-1) rolled to a 46-14 home victory over SMU (1-1). It seems likely the Aggies will have another big day offensively against the Mustangs, who return from their bye week after surrendering averages of 35.5 points and 419.5 yards to Texas Tech and Montana State. Then again, the Texas A&M defense hasn't been any better, giving up 36.0 points and 489.0 yards per game. The first two games came against inferior foes - Rice and Sam Houston State - but without many key defensive players who were suspended. That unit was back at full strength last Saturday but had to face top-ranked Alabama, which rolled up 568 yards and won 49-42. "We've got to get some things shored up in our front defensively," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "We'll be fine schematically. We've got to get our guys playing a little bit better." Manziel couldn't have played much better other than eliminating his two interceptions. The Heisman Trophy winner threw for a school-record 464 yards and totaled 562 for the second-best performance in SEC history. He had five touchdown passes as Texas A&M became the first team since LSU in 2007 to score 40 versus the Tide, and its 628 total yards were the most ever against Alabama. "This isn't the end of our season," Manziel said. "This wasn't the Super Bowl. This wasn't the last game of the season ... you never know how things will turn out. All we can do is take care of ourselves and continue to get better as a team." The defense certainly needs to do that, and the Aggies are confident that can happen as they continue working linebacker Steven Jenkins, defensive end Gavin Stansbury and cornerbacks De'Vante Harris and Deshazor Everett back into the mix. "I feel like we communicated well. We just have to have better eyes and we just have to fill our gaps better," senior defensive back Toney Hurd said. "That was actually the first game that the starting 11 on defense played together. "... Our confidence right now is not at an all-time high, but each and every week it will get greater as we play together more and more." One player who has improved each week is sophomore Mike Evans, who had a school-record 279 yards receiving last Saturday and leads the nation with 518. The 6-foot-5 wideout, who has 20 receptions and three touchdowns in 2013, had 123 yards in last year's win over SMU. The Manziel-Evans duo has given Texas A&M a chance to open a season with four straight 40-point games for the first time. SMU's offense also has been fairly potent, averaging 475.5 yards behind ex-Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert. The son of former NFL backup signal-caller Gale Gilbert is fourth in the FBS with 352.5 passing yards per game without an interception. Gilbert's lone touchdown pass came in the team's most recent game Sept. 7 and was a big one. He hit Darius Joseph from 4 yards out with 12 seconds left to give the Mustangs a 31-30 win over Montana State, then ranked No. 3 in the FCS. Gilbert was sacked four times last year against Texas A&M, completing just 23 of 49 passes for 203 yards with no TDs and one interception. The Aggies are 11-0-1 against their former Southwest Conference rival since 1984.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Report: Many NFL teams consider Johnny Manziel to be 'undraftable'

Johnny Manziel’s talent is undeniable. Texas A&M lost to Alabama on Saturday thanks in part to Manziel’s crucial interception in the end zone, but he managed to throw for 464 yards and five touchdowns against the two-time defending national champions. He also added 98 yards rushing. Oh yeah, and he became the first freshman ever […]

Why the NCAA is not only wrong, but criminal

College athletics have been one of America’s pastimes for more than a century, and some of the greatest moments of American sports have come as a result. Who can forget Kevin Moen plowing over a Stanford University tuba player en route to the end zone after five laterals? Or what about Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary in the final seconds that propelled Boston College to victory against...

Peter King: NFL teams think Johnny Manziel parties too much and he is undraftable

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but Johnny Manziel parties, a lot. Ya know who else parties a lot? 99% of college football players. The big difference about Manziel is that he has allowed himself to be available to be chronicled…Read more →

Texas A&M brought in $740 million in donations last year

Move to the SEC? Check. Heisman Trophy-winnning QB? Check. 11-2 record with a Cotton Bowl win? Check. Record donations to the university? Oh yeah, big checks. Texas A&M is really enjoying the last fiscal year, as they have seen their…Read more →

SMU DC On Facing Johnny Manziel: “I Have The Worst Job In America This Week”

Johnny Manziel gives coaches nightmares. His coaches, opposing coaches, and if you listen to NFL people, even his future coaches are having nightmares trying to figure out how to either stop him or control him. Manziel and the Aggies face SMU a week after amassing close to 700 yards of total offense, but still coming out on the losing end of things. SMU defensive coordinator Tom...

Three & Out: Week 3

First Down. It must be absolutely sickening as a Texas A&M fan that Johnny Manziel's 562 total yards and five touchdowns weren't enough to get the win at home. I know Manziel had 2 INT's, but seriously, there's nothing more he could have done. He personally carved up one of the best defenses in the nation (led by one of the best defensive minds in the nation)...

Rick Neuheisel sung about Johnny Manziel

Rick Neuheisel was always an okay college football coach. He is probably best known for losing his job because he participated in an NCAA Tournament pool. But in coaching circles, he is known for his ability to sing a little…Read more →

Texas A&M shifts focus to SMU

Texas A&M has heard enough of the game of the year talk surrounding last Saturday's 49-42 loss to top-ranked Alabama. The Aggies (2-1) have turned the page and are now focusing on the final nine games of the season, starting with SMU (1-1). "A lot's been said about last weekend," Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. "It was a heck of a football...

Wild Weekends: a Saturday Focused on One Game

This past weekend was all about one game in the world of college football. There were noteworthy games throughout the day and night, but all attention was focused on College Station, Texas. Manziel Mania may never end until Johnny Manziel—Johnny Football to many—goes pro, but all the hoopla was at least about a football game for the last few weeks. That game was Manziel and the...

NFL executives reportedly believe Kevin Sumlin ‘is a star’

On Monday, I wrote about how both Kevin Sumlin and Johnny Manziel won despite Texas A&M losing to Alabama on Saturday. Mainly because the way the two handled themselves against the closest thing to a NFL team in college football. While there dividends from the game aren’t paying off Manziel quite yet, they are definitely paying off for Sumlin according to Mike Freeman of Bleacher...

No2MinuteWarning.com Top 25, Week 4

Another week is in the books, and I have yet to be swayed in any direction to make a change in my top three. Alabama’s victory at Texas A&M was more than good enough to secure my first place vote, although I will say I have some issues with the Crimson Tide’s defense. That said, Johnny Manziel and the Aggies offense is in the rear view mirror and I’m not convinced any one...

Texas A&M Aggies vs. SMU Mustangs: Game Preview

This Saturday at 8 p.m. EST, the Texas A&M Aggies will take on the SMU Mustangs at Kyle Field. A&M has the clear upperhand in the history of these two schools with an all time record of 42-29-7. Last year, with Manziel at the helm, the Aggies snubbed the Mustangs 48-3.The Mustangs are coming off of a bye week as they head into Kyle field, and allowed 378 yards to the lowly...

FOXSports.com's college football power rankings

1. Alabama Crimson Tide 2-0 -- Bama accepted the challenge and withstood a record performance from Johnny Manziel. Yes, "revenge" is sweet for the Tide. 2. Stanford Cardinal 2-0 -- A long trip East resulted in a win at Army for the Cardinal. They are home this week to open the Pac-12 season against fellow unbeaten Arizona State. 3. Oregon Ducks 3-0 -- The Ducks...

A&M Almost In SEC's Elite, But Not Quite

On Saturday afternoon, we saw the latest edition in "the game of human existence" series when top-ranked and defending national champion Alabama faced off against sixth-ranked Texas A&M. Unlike most of those much-anticipated games, this one lived up to the hype. The Crimson Tide showed why they are champs, coming into a hostile Kyle Field in College Station and walking...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.