The bombastic Johnny Manziel made a huge statement for Texas A&M on Saturday, as the Aggies overcame a shaky first half to thoroughly defeat Rice at home, 52-31.
Heading into the locker room at halftime, the Aggies nursed a 28-21 lead without Manziel, who was suspended for the first half of the game. Upon arrival, Johnny Football wasted no time getting his team on the scoreboard and sending a not-so-subtle message of defiance to the NCAA.
After throwing his first of three touchdowns in the second half, Manziel rubbed his fingers and thumbs in the universal "money" sign in celebration, as shown by USA Today Sports:
Love him or hate him, Manziel is going to dominate headlines all year long—especially if he continues to play like he did on Saturday.
Texas A&M wasn't the only big school to play early on Saturday, and it wasn't the only top team to struggle with what should have been an easy opponent, either.
Here's a look at all the early finals (via NCAA.com), followed by a closer look at how a couple of other top teams fared.
Buffalo at Ohio State (No. 2)
For a team that is being hailed by many experts as a lock to make the BCS title game in January, Ohio State proved it has a lot of work to do on Saturday in a 40-20 victory over Buffalo.
Buffalo isn't a powder-puff football program, but the Buckeyes should have absolutely rolled the Bulls on Saturday. Instead, Ohio State struggled to match Buffalo's intensity and focus.
In the end, the Buckeyes simply featured too much top talent and won the game by 20 points.
Jordan Hall was a workhorse, carrying the ball 21 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns and adding three catches for 14 yards.
Quarterback Braxton Miller didn't do anything to bolster his Heisman Trophy campaign, throwing for just 178 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He added 77 yards on the ground, but he'll need to improve upon his passing numbers going forward.
Ohio State's defense needs to rebound after allowing two passing touchdowns. Furthermore, after watching Buffalo make some headway in the running game at times, it'll be interesting to see how this team stands up to a dominant rushing attack later in the year.
Toledo at Florida (No. 10)
Heading into this first game, there were no doubts about Florida's defense being the strength of the program. The offense, on the other hand, was a big question mark.
After one game, it still is.
Toledo featured a middle-of-the-road defense last season that allowed 28.4 points per game on average. Utah State put 41 points on the board against the Rockets last season in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but Florida only managed 24 on Saturday in a 24-6 victory.
Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel didn't turn the ball over, but he wasn't scaring anyone, either. He finished the day with just 153 yards and one touchdown on 22 passes, and his longest completion was just 26 yards.
Thankfully, running back Mack Brown looked good pounding the rock between the tackles, rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Florida, as a team, rushed for 262 yards on the day, which easily carried the Gators through the contest.
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