Recapping No. 17 MSU’s 38-13 loss to No. 16 Texas A&M at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday.
The Johnny Manziel Show made its Starkville debut, and it was a four-star performance.
The Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback was 30 of 36 – that’s 83.3 percent – for 311 yards, and he rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. The Aggies (7-2, 4-2 SEC) piled up 693 yards of total offense, with 361 of that coming on the ground. Tailback Ben Malena had 112 yards and a TD on 17 carries, while Christine Michael rushed for 50 yards and two scores. Receiver Ryan Swope had 121 yards on nine catches, and receiver Mike Evans had 97 yards on nine grabs.
MSU’s defense was shredded from the get-go, much like it was by Alabama a week ago. And just like last week, State found itself trailing 21-0 early int the second quarter. The Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2) gained little offensive traction in the first half and finished with 310 total yards.
Manziel moved across the field like a leaf blown by a strong wind, and MSU just couldn’t find a good angle on him or keep a grip. He was a big reason the Aggies converted on their first six third downs, including a 37-yard touchdown run by Manziel on a third-and-10 for a 21-0 lead.
It was 31-0 in the second quarter before MSU finally got on the board, on a 14-yard pass from Tyler Russell to Chad Bumphis. Russell finished 19 of 30 for 212 yards, the TD and one interception, and he was sacked once but took a lot of hits. Texas A&M’s defensive line, led by end Damontre Moore, gave MSU’s offensive front fits all day.
LaDarius Perkins started out having a good game, but mistakes kept the Bulldogs from capitalizing on it. Perkins finished with 42 yards on 13 carries, most of that coming in the first half.
MSU coach Dan Mullen‘s opening statement in the (brief) postgame press conference: “As a team we played very, very poorly today. That’s 100 percent my fault. As the head football coach that all falls on my shoulders. In every phase we played very poorly and give them credit their kids played well. They have a good football team. They played hard. That was as bad a performance as we’ve had here in quite a long time.”
Coordinators were not made available for interviews, so we didn’t get to ask Chris Wilson and Les Koenning what they thought went wrong. I have some videos of players below the scoring summary, if you’re interested. They are, in order, cornerback Johnthan Banks, Perkins, linebacker Cam Lawrence and Russell.
TAMU – Ben Malena 1 run (Taylor Bertolet kick), 9:16 (10 plays, 73 yards, 2:41)
TAMU – Christine Michael 22 run (Bertolet kick), 3:11 (9 plays, 79 yards, 4:02)
TAMU – Johnny Manziel 37 run (Bertolet kick), 11:51 (11 plays, 87 yards, 3:16)
TAMU – Bertolet 24 field goal, 2:53 (11 plays, 83 yards, 3:46)
TAMU – Michael 1 run (Bertolet kick), 12:40 (9 plays, 75 yards, 2:20)
MSU – Chad Bumphis 14 pass from Tyler Russell (Devon Bell kick), 8:01 (4 plays, 58 yards, 1:26)
MSU – Russell 4 run (pass failed), 9:11 (9 plays, 75 yards, 4:20)
TAMU – Manziel 8 run (Bertolet kick), 5:59 (9 plays, 65 yards, 3:06)