Johnny Manziel is officially back.
After an excruciatingly long offseason, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner took to Kyle Field for his first full game of the season Saturday against FCS powerhouse Sam Houston State.
Led by Manziel, the Aggies dominated the Bearkats 65-28, only punting once during true freshman backup quarterback Kenny Hill's second drive of the game.
Johnny Football's final statistics:
Passing: 28-of-41 for 403 yards, three touchdowns and one interception
Rushing: seven carries for 36 yards and one touchdown.
Manziel's numbers helped make a few waves in the record books, as A&M's 477 yards passing were the most in school history, surpassing last year's 498 yards against Arkansas. Additionally, the sophomore quarterback reached the 4,000-yard passing plateau, making him the fastest Aggie ever to do so.
Furthermore, Manziel's 403 passing yards were the third-most in school history. His total of 453 in last year's win over Arkansas tops that list.
As an offensive unit, A&M accounted for 714 yards, tied for the fourth-most in school history.
Ultimately, though, the Sam Houston State game says one thing about Johnny Football—he's back. And Saturday's home showdown against top-ranked Alabama will feature last season's defending Heisman Trophy winner rather than just a shade of his old self.
As for Nick Saban and Alabama—who had not only a bye week, but a full offseason to prepare for Manziel—the A&M quarterback said the extra game for the Aggies will prove an advantage come next weekend, especially due to the nationally televised game's placement early in the season.
"We got another opponent. We got another game, another full speed game to play before they did. It's hard to simulate a game in practice, even though they get more time to go over tape, but we got another game to go out and try to get some of these young guys up to speed."
As for whether Alabama has been circled on his calendar, Manziel said the Week 3 matchup was just another game on A&M's schedule and deserves no special attention.
"Alabama feels like another game. It feels like Week 3 of the season. We have to continue to get better as a team and continue to get better every week in every aspect—offense, defense, special teams. Having a full roster back will be nice, but for us, we have to get back at it just like we did last year and see how things go."
Against the Bearkats, Manziel played with a high level of emotion, showing off his "chip-on-the-shoulder" mentality during an early charge through a defender into the end zone.
However, A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin discussed how Manziel showed more restraint than he did against Rice, walking away from situations where defenders jawed at him.
Heading into the Alabama matchup, though, all gears seem to be clicking for A&M's versatile offense, which features several running backs, physical and fast wide receivers and Manziel himself, the condcutor of arguably the nation's top offensive unit.
If Manziel's impressive numbers become a trend against the Crimson Tide, Nick Saban and Alabama can kiss a revenge victory over the Aggies goodbye.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.
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