Texas A&M Football

Alabama vs. Texas A&M: Loss Proves Johnny Manziel Can't Carry Team to Title

COLLEGE STATION, TX - SEPTEMBER 14:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies warms up before a game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field on September 14, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2013

No matter how great Johnny Manziel's numbers are, Texas A&M's loss to Alabama proves that the quarterback can't carry his team to a championship.

His overall numbers on Saturday looked great. He completed 28 of 39 passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns. However, he did throw two interceptions, including one in the end zone in the second quarter.

The game was tied at 14 when he threw his first interception, and it changed the momentum for much of the game. 

He may have thrown a costly interception, but the game should never have gotten to that point. Manziel led his team to a 14-0 lead at the midway point in the first quarter. From that point on, the Crimson Tide had its way with the Aggies defense.

Alabama scored 35 straight points until Manziel was able to get the offense back on the board in the third quarter. By that time, it was just a little too late.

The 35-14 deficit turned into a 42-21 hole as the game moved on to the fourth quarter. Manziel threw a pair of touchdown passes to get his team to within seven points with eight minutes left in the game. It looked like the legend of Manziel would continue to grow as he led his team back from a 21-point deficit against the two-time defending champions.

Unfortunately for the sophomore, his defense was unable to hold Alabama's offense when it needed to. The defense allowed AJ McCarron to drive 65 yards over five minutes and 36 seconds to effectively end the game.

Once again, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner wasn't going to give up. He led his team to a touchdown to pull within seven with just seconds remaining, but Texas A&M couldn't recover the onside kick.

It was a great effort by Manziel to get his team back in the game, but this loss showed that he can't carry his team to the promised land.

The 20-year-old was great at the beginning of the game and may have been even better in the second half. He had five possessions in the second half and four passing touchdowns. It was the way he did it that was impressive. He did not have a scoring drive last longer than three minutes and eight seconds, and that's with the final three drives each covering at least 75 yards.

Manziel is a great quarterback. Many players would have given up when trailing by 21 points, but he turned it up a notch. It may have been because Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon fired him up by celebrating a touchdown right before the half. Manziel looked determined during every drive after that unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Despite his tremendous talent, the Aggies defense let its quarterback down. The Crimson Tide had seven different drives that covered at least 65 yards, including two in the fourth quarter that ate over 10 minutes combined.

Manziel brought his team back, but the defense couldn't get a stop when it needed one.

Alabama entered the game with issues on offense. It managed only 206 total yards and two offensive touchdowns against Virginia Tech in its opener. The Crimson Tide put up 568 total yards and 49 points against Texas A&M.

Manziel's performance was good enough to keep him in the running for another Heisman Trophy, but the loss will work against him. Many figured a loss to Alabama would knock him out of the conversation, but he played well enough to get consideration.

He couldn't pull off the upset for a second straight season, but it was his defense that lost the game. Manziel's defense may have just cost him a second Heisman Trophy and a shot at not only the SEC title, but also a national championship.

 

*All information is courtesy of the box score at ESPN.com

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