On Sunday morning, the newspaper headlines in College Station will likely read “Texas A&M 59, Missouri 29,” but if anything, the story behind the headlines is this: In his last chance to impress Heisman Trophy voters, Johnny Manziel left them with quite a bit to think about. After another strong performance Saturday night, Manziel firmly planted himself in the discussion as the Heisman favorite. You know, if he wasn’t the favorite already.
As a matter of fact, just about the only thing that could stop Manziel on Saturday night against Missouri was, well, Manziel himself. Late in the first quarter, with his team already ahead 14-0, Manziel tried to wiggle out of a tackle, and in the process twisted his knee. It was a scary moment for Aggies fans everywhere, as Manziel was helped off the field and into the locker room…
… And then Manziel came back to the field just a few minutes later, and in an instant, the game was basically over.
As for the stats themselves, on the evening, Manziel threw for three touchdowns and rushed for two more, just another ho-hum night in a season where Manziel has made super-human numbers seem almost normal. Manziel ended his regular season with a staggering 21 scores through the air and another 19 on the ground, finishing half his games (six) with multiple passing and receiving touchdowns in the same game. In the process of Saturday night’s win, Manziel also broke Cam Newton’s single season SEC total yardage record.
And with his big night, all Manziel can do is watch and wait, to how the Heisman chase plays out in the final weekend.
At this point it has to be presumed that Manziel will at least make it to New York as one of the finalists for the award, and given that much of his competition won’t be playing next week (including Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller) it is hard to see him getting eclipsed by anyone other than Kansas State’s Collin Klein. Klein and the Wildcats face off against Texas with a Big XII title on the line, and a huge night from Klein could throw him right back into the discussion as the favorite at this point.
Still, it seems like the Heisman is Johnny Manziel’s to lose at this point.
But beyond Manziel’s exploits let’s not forget that on Saturday the Aggies also accomplished something huge for the entire program as well: They reached the 10-win plateau for the first time since 1998, an especially incredible feat given that they’re in the first year in the SEC, playing for a first year coach in Kevin Sumlin.
Clearly, everything is looking up for both the program itself and its superstar player.
Now, the only question is, “What’s next?” In the coming weeks the school will not only find out where it’s playing in the postseason this winter, but also whether it’s star quarterback will take home college football’s top individual award.
What a year it’s been in College Station, huh?
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