What an introduction the Texas A&M Aggies made to the Vanderbilt Commodores in their first trip to Kyle Field. The big question for the Aggies entering this game centered on the health of Johnny Manziel’s shoulder. It was answered quickly, and on their first drive against the Commodores.
Manziel opened up with 10 straight completions for 70 yards while surgically orchestrating A&M’s initial 75-yard drive. He completed the drive with an eight-yard toss to Derel Walker to give the Aggies a 7-0 lead with 11:32 remaining in the first quarter.
Vanderbilt had a big question of its own entering Saturday: How well would first-time starting quarterback Patton Robinette fare against a defense that ranked 118th in the country? The first quarter answered that question pretty well.
While the Aggies were marching for four first-quarter touchdowns, the Commodores were stuck in neutral. The Commodores’ offense gained only 40 yards in the first 15 minutes against a defense accustomed to surrendering 123.6 per quarter. Most of the Dores’ success came in the second quarter when they gained 171 yards and scored 17 unanswered points.
By the time the whistle blew for halftime, the score read 28-17 with the teams essentially trading quarters. A&M’s was a shade better. The rest of the game would belong to Manziel and Co., however. Vanderbilt was held to 118 yards in the second half, 80 of which came on their lone touchdown drive. All in all, the freshman quarterback for Vandy held up pretty well. He was picked for six on a hitch route to his left on his first play of the second half, but otherwise had a nice debut.
Johnny’s day was over a few minutes into the third quarter. At that point, the country’s No. 2 guy in total offense had already thrown for 305 yards and four scores. He was quoted after the game as saying, “I never considered not playing. I love my team too much to consider sitting out.”
With respect to how the current Heisman Trophy race is shaping up, I would like to add a comment about this year’s candidates. In my 40-plus years of playing and watching college football, I have never seen a trio of quarterbacks as talented as Johnny Football, Famous Jameis Winston and Marcus “Super” Mariota. I have seen some amazing quarterbacks, but these three are athletically incredible – not to mention winners.
Sure, there are a ton of very special and talented quarterbacks out there right now, and I’m not slighting any of them. But this trio is just so entertaining; they’re taking the college game into a high-tech era the sport has never seen.
As for Johnny’s chances, entering this weekend he was a 20/1 long-shot to win his second Heisman Trophy. This is very similar to the spot the odds-makers dropped him after the Aggies lost to LSU in Week 8 last year. By voting time, however, folks were paying five just to win one.
Can Johnny Sure Thing repeat? Let’s see what happens when the Ags head to Tiger Stadium to play LSU with both teams back in the Top 10. Then, let’s watch him take on Missouri in Columbia – the Tigers will possibly need the win in order to earn a spot in the SEC Championship game.
There’s still a lot of football left for the best quarterback in the country, and Johnny has never lost a road game in his life. I like those odds.