Johnny Manziel had to deal with a long offseason full of drama and scandals, but that didn’t stop him from looking like the Heisman Trophy winner who last left the field a victor in the Cotton Bowl.
Although he had to sit for 30 minutes in the first half of Texas A&M’s season-opener against Rice, Manziel immediately came in and made an impact.
Johnny Football finished the day by completing six of eight passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran six times for 19 yards on the way to a 52-31 blowout victory.
Those are the kind of numbers that fans are expecting from Manziel this year, although many were anxious to see if the long and tumultuous summer would have a negative effect on his abilities.
The trials and tribulations clearly didn’t diminish his skills, although Manziel did lash out at times and was subsequently punished for a controversial and questionable decision.
Shortly after he made his highly anticipated debut, the quarterback began slicing through the defense. During the Aggies' second possession, Manziel taunted Rice defenders with a gesture that mocked his recent autograph scandal.
The 20-year-old tossed a touchdown pass on the next play and celebrated by using his hands to imitate the counting of money—something Manziel was accused of receiving in exchange for his signatures.
He was fortunate head coach Kevin Sumlin didn’t catch the act, but he wouldn’t be so lucky in the fourth quarter. The signal-caller was benched for drawing a flag after throwing his third touchdown of the afternoon.
Manziel was hit with the unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for relentlessly jawing at members of the Owls defense.
With Alabama coming to town in two weeks, the young man is going to need to grow up and keep his mouth shut in order to beat the Crimson Tide for a second straight season.
Which team will win on Sept. 14?
The last thing that Nick Saban’s squad needs is more bulletin-board material or motivation on the field, and that is exactly what Manziel would be giving them by speaking out or taunting during the game.
There’s no doubt that Johnny Football is just as talented if not more than he was during his historic freshman campaign, but he needs to quit making boneheaded decisions before his luck runs out.