By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Everyone isn’t buying the “Johnny Football will get his” mentality.
Led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at quarterback, No. 9-ranked Texas A&M has scored at least 42 points in every game as the Aggies (4-1, 1-1 SEC) prepare to visit Ole Miss (3-2, 1-2) Saturday night.
It’s the rematch of A&M’s dramatic 30-27 fourth-quarter rally last year, a game Manziel has described as critical in the maturation of the Aggies collectively, and himself individually.
Manziel leads the SEC in total offense (360.6 ypg) and points responsible for (20.4). He ranks sixth nationally in both categories.
‘We have to answer’
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace says it’s up to the Rebels’ offense to match his production.
“No doubt. No doubt about it,” Wallace said. “They’re (the defense)going to have to play against the best player in college football right now, and we know that. He’s going to put up a lot of points, and we have to answer with every drive we have.”
Ole Miss gave up 35 points in the opener against Vanderbilt but has since become more settled at cornerback and healthier with the return of outside linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche.
The Rebels’ defense has allowed 23 points in each of its last three games; Auburn scored on an interception return and Alabama had a safety.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said the key to slowing Manziel is giving him varied looks.
“You have to be multiple. You can’t give him just one thing,” he said. “They’ll adjust if they get a bead on exactly what you’re doing.”
Linebacker Serderius Bryant isn’t ready to concede the end zone to Manziel.
“I have heart, and I feel like our defense can go out and compete with anybody in the country,” he said. “It will be hard to stop him, but if we maintain him, everything will fall into place. Our offense will do good, and everything will click from there.”