Rice vs. Texas A&M: Grading Johnny Manziel's Week 1 Performance

Scott CarasikContributor IIAugust 31, 2013

COLLEGE STATION, TX - AUGUST 31:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates a third quarter touchdown during the game against the Rice Owls at Kyle Field on August 31, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel returned to action this week and turned in an excellent performance, despite playing for just over a quarter versus Rice.

Matt Joeckel also had a good performance. His stat line of 14-for-19 (73.7 percent), 190 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers shows that he is a good injury replacement should Manziel need one. He's a big reason why the Aggies were able to be up 28-21 at halftime.

With Manziel taking over at halftime, the Aggies finished the game with a 52-31 win while scoring on four of the five drives that Manziel led. Unfortunately, he was having trouble keeping his cool throughout the game and got penalized towards the end of it.

He also improved his passing mechanics, showing that the Manning passing camp helped him a lot this offseason. Texas A&M also showed that they should be able to win the national title this year if Manziel can become the leader he needs to turn into.


Talent is There to Win the Heisman Again

When the Aggies score on four out of the five drives that Johnny Manziel leads, that's huge. When three of the scores are passing touchdowns that showcase his much improved mechanics, that's even bigger for them.

Johnny Football was setting his feet and showing great drive on his passes. He threw off of his front foot on all but one pass and was able to have a consistent arm slot for most of his throws. Because his mechanics improved dramatically, he saw much better results.

Manziel did have some short fields to work with because his defense helped him out, but he did go 6-for-8 (75.0 percent) for 94 yards and didn't turn the ball over—adding another 19 yards on his six runs isn't a bad way to start off either. 

With his better-overall technique, Manziel should be able to contend for the Heisman again. It'd make him the only person outside of Archie Griffin to repeat as a Heisman winner.


But, He Needs To Control His Extra-Curriculars On the Field

Oh, look, another 15-yard penalty flag was thrown for taunting. 

Johnny Manziel can definitely make some great plays, but he needs to learn how to just shut his mouth and not get penalized for taunting after plays. It's hurting both him and his team to continually get in he face of other players.

I'm not saying that he needs to have the same kind of discipline as the Corps of Cadets counterparts, but he needs to understand how to let the junk talk from defensive players slide. 

He's arguably the best quarterback in college football. And as such, Manziel needs to understand that the best way to shut up a defense is to beat them on the field with his legs and much improved arm.

If he can get his temper and attitude under control, Texas A&M will challenge for the SEC title this year.


Overall Grade: B


All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.