Texas A&M vs. Alabama: Why Johnny Football Will Do What Denard Robinson Couldn't

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 9, 2012

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M QB Johnny ManzielBrett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Johnny Manziel has been the talk of college football this season, but the redshirt freshman quarterback of the Texas A&M Aggies hasn't seen anything like what's coming at him on Saturday.

The Aggies will roll into Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday afternoon and face off against the No. 2 defense in the country in a game that would clinch the division title for the Crimson Tide.

Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 383.2 and 102.44 rushing yards per game.

The Crimson Tide won't be overly impressed.

Nick Saban's crew opened up the 2012 season with a 41-14 thrashing of Michigan in the Cowboys Classic and held dual-threat stud Denard Robinson to 227 yards of total offense and two interceptions.

That certainly doesn't bode well for Manziel, but he's got one thing going for him that Robinson did not—a versatile offense that can succeed in the SEC.

Manziel steals all of the headlines, but he isn't the entire show in Aggieland. Texas A&M has been successful this season because it has one of the nation's top offensive lines, a running back corps that is very physical and a solid receiving corps.

Translation: They're versatile.

Running back Ben Malena is only 5'8", but the 195-pounder packs a vicious punch. The junior is averaging 70.78 yards per game on the ground. Behind him, senior Christine Michael has eight rushing touchdowns and 321 rushing yards on the season.

When the Wolverines faced off against the Tide in the opener, they were without running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who was suspended for the game following an offseason arrest for driving a vehicle while impaired. Touissaint rushed for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and 391 so far this season after missing the opener.

Denard Robinson was Michigan's offense against Alabama. Manziel will only be a part of Texas A&M's on Saturday afternoon.

With the help of that solid running back corps, wide receivers Mike Evans and Ryan Swope, and a coaching staff that has successfully eased the transition to the SEC with its versatility, Manziel and the Aggies will move the football on the Crimson Tide.

The question is, will they be able to move it enough?

Enough to keep them in the game, yes—which is more than Michigan can say. 

Manziel will be the focal point, but his supporting cast has helped him out tremendously this season. 

That cast will show up enough to give the Aggies a chance in Tuscaloosa, which will allow Manziel to have the kind of day that many suspected Robinson to put up prior to the opener.