We all know football is a team sport, but Texas A&M has no chance of beating Alabama in Week 3 without a huge game from quarterback Johnny Manziel.
After opening the season with a lackluster performance, Alabama's offense will be keyed up and ready to put on a show against a less-than-stellar Aggies defense.
Virginia Tech's defense held T.J. Yeldon and the rest of 'Bama's running backs to under 100 yards with one touchdown, while A.J. McCarron and the team's passing game was held in check to the tune of 110 yards and just one touchdown.
The Hokies held the Crimson Tide to just 206 total yards of offense and allowed just 11 first downs, but nobody should expect such a performance from Texas A&M this weekend.
The Aggies have allowed 59 points and 899 yards of offense thus far in 2013 against Rice and Sam Houston State. Even more concerning than the number of total yards allowed is the 546 rushing yards this defense has given up to inferior teams.
Alabama will be able to run the ball effectively on Saturday at College Station, which will open up passing lanes for McCarron and his receivers. The Crimson Tide will put points on the scoreboard, and Nick Saban will have his defense playing well, as usual.
Against Virginia Tech, C.J. Mosley and his defensive teammates held the Hokies to just 206 offensive yards and seven first downs. If not for a 77-yard touchdown run by Trey Edmunds, these numbers would have been even more impressive.
Though it was only one game, 'Bama's performance was reminiscent of last year's dominant defense, which led the nation by allowing just 10.9 points per game.
This means Manziel must lead an effective offensive attack if Texas A&M has any hope of winning this game.
Based on what we saw from the Heisman Trophy winner last season against the top defense in the nation, and based on what we've seen from him thus far in 2013, Manziel is more than up to the challenge.
Playing on the road, Manziel played turnover-free football, completing over 77 percent of his passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He also added another 92 yards on the ground, and the Aggies pulled off one of the biggest upsets between ranked teams of the 2012 season.
As was discussed earlier, though, Texas A&M's defense hasn't been sharp this year.
Damontre Moore and Sean Porter—two of the team's top defenders a year ago—are both playing ball at the next level, and to this point the Aggies haven't been able to replace the production they provided.
This puts more pressure on Manziel to play a flawless game against one of the most feared defenses in the nation. Playing at home will certainly aid his cause, but 'Bama's defense will give him all he can handle this Saturday.
The pressure cooker this young quarterback endures every week as the most visible player in college football will only get more intense this week. It will be fascinating to see how he responds, but if history is any indication, then Manziel will continue to amaze.
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