Manziel, Aggies prepare for Rebels rematch

Johnny Manziel rallied Texas A&M from a late 13-point deficit against Ole Miss in Oxford in 2012. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File) 

Johnny Manziel rallied Texas A&M from a late 13-point deficit against Ole Miss in Oxford in 2012. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – At SEC Media Days in July, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel described the Aggies’ dramatic comeback win over Ole Miss as “a scary day.”

A&M’s first road win as an SEC member would be the 16th-straight SEC loss for Ole Miss, a streak that would end the following week against Auburn in Hugh Freeze’s first year as coach.

Manziel, whose appearances before media this season have been few and carefully timed, said then he remembered thinking, “Man, we’re in trouble. We’re in real trouble.”

The Aggies’ 13-point rally in the last 6 minutes, 24 seconds began when Manziel converted a third-and-19 from his own 3-yard line with a 32-yard pass to Mike Evans. Evans, now a 6-foot-5 sophomore, has become Manziel’s No. 1 target this season.

Manziel narrowly avoided a safety on a sack by Issac Gross on the first play of that five-play, 88-yard drive.

He capped it with a 29-yard touchdown run and would later throw the game-winning touchdown pass to Ryan Swope with 1:46 to play.

Manziel was sacked four times, picked off twice, and the Ole Miss defense forced six turnovers in that game.

“Any time you win a game where you have six turnovers you feel like you got out of there with a gift,” said Clarence McKinney, who coaches the Aggies’ running backs and was elevated this season to offensive coordinator after Kliff Kingsbury returned to his alma mater, Texas Tech, as head coach.

Launch pad

Manziel and his coaches have pointed to last year’s Ole Miss game as a launching point to the Aggies’ success.

“You can point back to that game and say it was a pretty big deal based on what I heard about the year before,” Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Everyone says we would have lost that game the prior year.”

Bo Wallace passed for 305 yards, and Jeff Scott rushed for 108 as the Ole Miss offense generated 464 yards against the Aggies.

The Rebels, though, had turnover problems of their own. Wallace threw two interceptions, one of them in the final seconds when Ole Miss was trying to position itself for a tying field goal, perhaps a winning TD.

Ole Miss arrives for the rematch 11th in the SEC in scoring offense (27.2 ppg) and with a suddenly struggling run game (184.0 ypg, 11th).

This year A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder sees an Ole Miss offense that is again dealing with self-inflicted wounds.

“Nobody’s really slowed them down. They’ve slowed themselves down,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to work extremely hard on that.”

Snyder’s unit missed several key players with suspensions for the first two games and is now dealing with injuries in the secondary and at defensive line.

The Aggies’ defense has been almost as wide open as their offense, allowing an SEC-worst 476.8 yards a game and their 30.8 points per game allow ranking next to last in the league.

When Texas A&M has been successful, its multiplicity has been a key.

“Any time you return the starting quarterback it gives you a chance to score some points,” Snyder said. “We’re going to have to throw different things at him.”

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  • Kevin

    “…an Ole Miss offense that is again dealing with self-inflicted wounds.”

    I think this clause right here spells out the entire season. And the 11th in the SEC in rushing and total offense stats likewise show that we’re headed for a 4-8 season, provided of course if we can get a win over Idaho (and that’s a big if).

    When you field JUCO players on an SEC team, there’s only one way to go and that’s down.

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  • REB

    You say “we”. You are not an Ole Miss fan, Cid. You are talking lunacy . You must have went over to MOO town again and got your milk straight from the cow’s utter. It’s given you a fever.

    • Kevin

      Why do you say I speak “lunacy” when I’m merely quoting the article above and pointing out that our offense does nothing very well and actually hurts the team’s chances of winning. I’m merely pointing out the obvious and you can only respond with ridiculous statements. Face it dude, our team sucks!

  • ostrogoth

    Kevin-You are so right about everything regarding Rebs. Obvious choice is to give up now and stop going to games, because they suck so bad. As an Ole Miss grad, bachelors/masters, always had hope, but you pointed out the obvious. Someday.

    • Kevin

      That’s refreshing vandal. It’s good to know there are other Rebs out there who don’t drink the kool-aid.

  • REB

    Nobody, even acting like a fan, with any common sense goes around putting his team down. Trying to find any negative thing they can find. No one with any sense is as hung up on anything as you are with Ole Miss. It’s just lunacy, cid. I feel sorry for you. It’s clear you have no life. Maybe if you could get into a support group or see a physiatrist.

    • Kevin

      I understand that you may be a child and are unable to comprehend what criticism is all about, but I just can’t sit back and claim that this team is any good when they demonstrate on the field just how bad they are. Face it REB, we play in a conference that’s just too powerful for us to compete in, especially when we field players from the JUCO ranks.

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