Sam Houston State vs. Texas A&M: 10 Things We Learned in the Aggies' Win
It was not perfect, but the Texas A&M offense was too much in a 65-28 victory over Sam Houston State on Saturday night.
The Texas A&M offense dominated the game, particularly in the third quarter, as the Aggies pulled away in the second half.
While beating a FCS team does not always tell the full story about a program, Sam Houston State is no slouch.
A lot more will be learned about the Aggies next week, but plenty was deciphered from this 37-point victory.
Here are 10 things we learned in the Aggies' 65-28 triumph over the Bearkats.
*Stats are according to NCAA.com.
Texas A&M Has Some Holes to Fill on Defense
The offense for Texas A&M was very impressive, but the defense was a slightly different story.
Texas A&M allowed 387 yards of total offense to the Bearkats, including some huge plays. The rush defense was the main culprit, as Sam Houston State managed 237 yards on 42 carries.
Alabama is coming to town next weekend. The Aggies are going to need to figure some things out along the front seven to slow down the Crimson Tide rushing attack led by sophomore T.J. Yeldon.
The Wide Receivers for Texas A&M Are Deep and Talented
There is talent all over the field on the offensive side of the ball for Texas A&M, but one of the most talented positions is wide receiver.
The Aggies had 11 different players make a catch, led by sophomore Mike Evans. He caught seven passes for 154 yards. Sabian Holmes hauled in six passes for 60 yards and a score.
True freshman JaQuay Williams caught two balls for 57 yards and a touchdown, including an excellent one-handed snag.
This group is young, talented and might help lead the Aggies to the top of the SEC.
Johnny Manziel Is Still the Heisman Front-Runner
Johnny Manziel continues to impress each and every time he takes the field.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner had one of the best games of his career. Manziel passed for 423 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. He also carried the ball seven times for 39 yards and another score.
The stats do not tell the full story, as Manziel made some terrific plays with his legs all night long.
This guy is still the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy once again this season.
Timothy Flanders Is the Real Deal for Sam Houston State
Sam Houston State may have lost by nearly 40 points, but one bright spot for the Bearkats was running back Timothy Flanders.
The Kansas State transfer was dynamic on offense for the Bearkats. He carried the ball 19 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns, including a 68-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the third quarter.
He also had a nice catch-and-run for a 33-yard touchdown.
No question that Flanders was the best player on the field for the Bearkats.
The Aggies Have an Excellent Two-Headed Rushing Attack
Losing a guy like Christine Michael is never easy, but with the talent Texas A&M has at running back, the Aggies will not miss a beat on the ground in 2013.
Senior Ben Malena led the way. He carried the ball nine times for 68 yards and a touchdown. His running mate in the backfield, Tra Carson, also ran the ball nine times. He totaled 51 yards and two scores.
Throw in sophomore Brandon Williams, and this group is much better than anticipated.
It will need to live up to the expectations next week when Alabama comes to town.
Kevin Sumlin Continues to Grow as a Coach
Kevin Sumlin continues to show why he is one of the best coaches in all of college football.
After his team struggled at the beginning of the game, he made the adjustments to allow Texas A&M to dominate the game in the third quarter.
Sumlin has won everywhere he has gone and is now 13-2 as head coach of Texas A&M.
Those are very impressive numbers for a new head coach in the SEC.
Kenny Hill Is the Real Deal
After Johnny Manziel was pulled midway through the third quarter, head coach Kevin Sumlin decided to give true freshman Kenny Hill a chance.
He certainly did not disappoint. On his first play from scrimmage, he hit fellow freshman JaQuay Williams for a long gain.
One play later, he found Travis Labhart in the end zone for a 15-yard score.
Hill finished the game 5-of-6 for 74 yards and a touchdown.
The Kicking Game Could Be an Issue Down the Line for the Aggies
For as good as Texas A&M was on offense, the kicking game showed some glaring weaknesses.
After a bad snap in the first half, kicker Taylor Bertolet was short on the extra point.
He then missed a 31-yard field goal later in the first half.
Bertolet did connect on a 35-yard field goal on the final play before intermission.
Still, this is a facet of the game that could use a little help right away.
Johnny Manziel Grew Up Just a Little Bit
For the most part, Johnny Manziel kept his mouth shut and played football.
The sophomore quarterback let his play do the talking. He was dominant all night long with the exception of an early interception.
The only time Manziel really opened his mouth was when he was hit eight yards deep in the end zone.
It is still too early to tell whether or not he is truly making strides, but this was a step in the right direction.
The Aggies Are a True National Title Contender
Even though there are still some questions on defense, Texas A&M has arguably the best player in the country and is right in the middle of the national title conversation.
With as many playmakers as it has on offense, Texas A&M has the talent to hang with anybody in the nation.
That will be on full display against Alabama on Saturday.
A win over Alabama would mean Texas A&M only has LSU remaining on the schedule as far as ranked teams are concerned.
That makes next weekend all the more important.