Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, a.k.a. Johnny Football, may just be the most electric player in all of college football. The redshirt freshman has led his Aggies to a 7-2 record in the school’s first season in the SEC, while putting up ridiculous numbers that call into question how good these SEC defenses really are. Not to mention, he embodies everything that is a true Gamedayr—both on and off the field. Just take a look at what he was up to on Halloween. The Gamedayr statistics Department took a closer look at the historic numbers Johnny Football has tallied this season, and what it means for Aggie football.
Manziel leads the SEC with 922 rushing yards, which is good for 26th in the nation. That is more than 100 yards rushing per game. Keep in mind, folks, that this is a quarterback we’re talking about. Not the position you would expect to lead the conference in rushing. He also leads the SEC with 6.7 yards per rush—good for 18th in the nation. These statistics are even more impressive when you realize that a quarterback sack actually counts in the box score as negative rushing yards for the quarterback — and Manziel has been sacked seventeen times this year.
Along with the running game, Johnny Football clearly has the ability to move his team down the field with his arm. He is 19th in the nation with 2,527 yards passing this season. This is second in the SEC behind only Tyler Bray of Tennessee, who has accumulated 2,812 passing yards. Manziel has thrown sixteen touchdowns to only six picks, which gives him a passer rating of 149.5. This is the 30th best passer rating in the nation. Now if only the NCAA could come up with a statistic to measure overall quarterback performance, in the air and on the ground, similar to ESPN’s new statistic, Total QBR. Then we could really evaluate how good this guy is. Did I mention that this is his first year as a starting quarterback?
More from Texas A&M Gamedayr >> A game-by-game look at the rise of Johnny Football
Heisman for Johnny?
It seems to be the general consensus that Colin Klein, quarterback for undefeated Kansas State, is the front-runner for the Heisman trophy. And we’re not taking anything away from the great season that Klein is having, but can Johnny Football get a little love in the Heisman talks? Klein’s combination of success in both rushing and passing has brought about comparisons to Tim Tebow—one of the greatest college football players to ever play the game (and one of the worst NFL players to ever make it to that level). During Tebow’s magical Heisman trophy winning campaign in 2007, he accounted for an incredible 55 touchdowns—32 through the air, and 23 on the ground. Perhaps that comparison is a bit premature, but Klein is certainly having an excellent year.
But what about Johnny? Manziel has totaled 922 rush yards on 6.7 yards per carry with 15 rushing touchdowns, and 2,527 pass yards, with 16 passing touchdowns, and six interceptions. Klein has racked up 698 rush yards on five yards per carry with 17 rushing touchdowns, and 1,875 pass yards with 12 passing touchdowns and two interceptions. The statistics are incredibly comparable, while keeping in mind that Johnny Manziel has done this in one of the toughest, defensive-minded conferences in the country. Meanwhile, Klein plays in the Big 12, where nearly everyone puts up 40 points each week. Perhaps Johnny Football is not receiving as much Heisman attention as he should be.
If anyone has ever been in a perfect position to make a name for themselves, then Johnny Manziel and his Texas A&M Aggies are in that exact spot as they head to Tuscaloosa to take on the top-ranked Crimson Tide this Saturday. Despite the great numbers that Manziel has put up in his first year, he has lost his only two games against highly ranked teams—a 20-17 loss to Florida in the first start of his career, and a 24-19 loss to LSU in Week 8. But Manziel has only gotten better as the season has progressed, and he can launch himself up those Heisman ballots with a victory this weekend. Last week, the Alabama defense looked vulnerable for the first time all year, allowing 298 yards on a 69-percent passing rate from first-year LSU starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger. We know Johnny Football and the A&M offense are more than capable of putting up similar numbers, so it may be up to that Aggies defense to slow down fellow Heisman hopeful A.J. McCarron and the Alabama offense just enough to pull off the upset this weekend.
What do you think, Gamedayrs? Can the Aggies knock off Alabama this weekend? Comment below and make your opinion heard!
Latest from around Gamedayr >> Why Texas A&M will win this weekend against big, bad Alabama