By Parrish Alford
Johnny Manziel performed more fourth-quarter magic to deal another painful home defeat to Ole Miss Saturday night.
Texas A&M kicker Taylor Bertolet drilled a 33-yard field goal with 4 seconds left to lift the Aggies to a 41-38 win before a crowd of 60,950 fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Bo Wallace’s 50-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Walton gave Ole Miss a 38-31 lead with 6:52 play, but Manziel led the Aggies on an 8-play, 75-yard drive and tied the game on a 6-yard run.
Then the Aggies much-maligned defense forced a three-and-out series for the Rebels, one that included a costly drop by wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan that would have resulted in a first down.
Ole Miss used only 10 seconds of clock on that ill-fated drive as three straight incompletions stopped the clock after each play.
“The effort was great, but it’s really disappointing,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “We’re beat up. We fought our guts out, but we had some critical drops we didn’t make plays when we had the chance.”
Manziel had two turnovers and a fumble in the Aggies’ dramatic comeback win last year. His interception and fumble this season give him five turnovers in two years at Vaught-Hemingway, but he also has two wins.
Manziel scored on touchdown scrambles of 5 and 6 yards, and led drives to let his running backs score from close in as well.
Bo Wallace passed for 301 yards and three touchdowns, and the Rebels revived their inside run game, but it wasn’t enough to off-set the Aggies.
Manziel didn’t always get the points, but he did lead the drives. He finished with 346 yards pass and 122 yards rushing.
Manziel’s fumble early in the fourth quarter was recovered by the Rebels’ Trae Elston and led to Wallace’s 19-yard scoring pass to freshman Laquon Treadwell, one of two in the game for Treadwell.
Barry Brunetti passed for two touchdowns and rushed for 24 yards.
Freeze said he wanted to move the chains and get back into a package with Brunetti at the end, hoping to set up a game-winning field goal for the home team.
Wallace’s scoring pass to Treadwell put the Rebels (3-3, 1-3 SEC) up 31-24, but the Aggies (5-1, 2-1) tied it on a 9-yard run by Trey Williams.
Manziel was nearly unstoppable in the first quarter, but the Ole Miss defense stiffened in the second quarter after allowing two touchdown drives in the first 15 minutes.
Manziel left the game for a play in the first quarter after tweaking a knee. The Aggies were unable to convert a third-and-17 without him and missed a 36-yard field goal try wide right.
On Manziel’s other two first-quarter possessions they scored touchdowns, a 7-yard run by Ben Malena and an 18-yard run by Williams in which tackling concerns that plagued Ole Miss at Auburn appeared again.
The only scoring in the second quarter was a 42-yard field goal from Andrew Ritter.
Texas A&M held a 235-213 yardage edge and a 14-10 lead at the break.
A&M outgained Ole Miss 587-462 for the game.