By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State’s first shot at slowing Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel ended in disaster.
The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner guided the Aggies offense to 693 yards in a 38-13 victory last season in Starkville.
And Manziel’s numbers are even better as a sophomore as he has Texas A&M’s offense clicking on all cylinders, averaging 582.6 yards and 49 points per game.
“Obviously it’s a tough challenge playing one of the best, if not the best offense in the country,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “I say that through a consistency standpoint. Their lowest number of points is 41, so obviously they’re a very explosive offense. They’ve done a great job and have a lot of talented players. They had a bunch of first-round draft picks last year and it looks like they’ll have a bunch of first-round draft picks this year.”
Manziel leads the SEC in most offensive categories including an average of 381.2 yards total offense per game. He’s completing 72.5 percent of his passes for 2,867 yards and 26 TDs.
Last season, “Johnny Football” totaled 440 yards of offense against MSU with two rushing touchdowns. He completed 30 of 36 passes for 311 yards and ran 21 times for 129 yards.
Manziel’s run-pass threat and gift to ad-lib when a play breaks down makes him most dangerous.
“There’s a little bit of everything,” Mullen said. “There’s his ability to run the football which you have to defend against. There’s his ability to throw the football which you have to defend against. Then there’s his ability to improvise, and in improvising he can run or throw. That’s where the difficult problem comes in.”
In addition to Manziel’s success against MSU, Ben Malena carried 17 times for 112 yards and a touchdown while Ryan Swope and Mike Evans combined for 18 catches for 218 yards.
Evans leads the SEC with 52 catches for 1,147 yards and 12 scores.