If there were any worries that the Texas A&M Aggies’ loss to Alabama would somehow hinder their performance going forward and that the hype surrounding the "Game of the Century of the Year of the Week" would force a lackluster encore, Johnny Manziel and the entire A&M team answered this emphatically in a 42-13 blowout victory against SMU.
And really, it could have been much worse.
This performance was not a surprise to boxer Floyd Mayweather, who tweeted out a picture of the cool $220,000 he put on Texas A&M Saturday night.
Well, he has a few extra dollars to spare at this point:
There was no hangover or post-hype slumber here. This one was over early, and Kevin Sumlin’s star player had a visor on his head versus his normal helmet well before the game had concluded.
Of course Manziel played well—at this point, it’s almost assumed. But the “team” component of this victory is critical for the Aggies going forward. And strangely, the two have often been viewed separately in recent weeks.
This is both unfair and somehow understood given the celebrity status of the quarterback and the defensive struggles thus far. Against SMU, however, A&M finally put forth a complete game, one that will be tough for any team to beat if the trend continues.
The defense held the Mustangs to just two field goals in the first half, which set the trend for the evening. The offense did, well, exactly what you’d expect a Manziel-led offense to do. In fact, Manziel played only one series in the second half, and Sumlin had seen enough, going to backup Matt Joeckel perhaps earlier than anticipated.
Even though his night was cut short, Manziel still posted impressive numbers. He accounted for 346 yards of offense and three touchdowns while adding one interception on a pass that bounced off his wideout's hands. Again, it’s worth noting that he accomplished a solid game’s worth of numbers in just over half of a football game.
Surprised? Of course not.
After all, Manziel’s press conference following the Alabama loss provided a window into the competitive nature of the Heisman winner. Sure it's just a string of sound bites, but Johnny Football sounded (and looked like) he was ready for 60 more minutes.
And while SMU isn’t exactly the stiffest of competition, the timing of this game presented an interesting scenario.
The Alabama matchup was the one everyone had circled on the calendar. A letdown of sorts following this hype-packed event would not have been surprising to say the least.
But this was not to be.
It also comes at a critical point from a scheduling standpoint. Texas A&M will head on the road for the first time this season next week at Arkansas. Following a well-timed bye week, the Aggies will head back on the road against Ole Miss.
The Rebels were just a few strange plays away from beating the Aggies in their own building last season, and this will serve as a substantial midseason test.
As Manziel pointed out following the loss, things are just getting started.
For now, however, all systems are a go. The hangover was nowhere to be found, and Manziel performed up to the unimaginable expectations that he reaches and exceeds weekly. And if the defense can build upon its first real solid showing of the season, this A&M team can be even scarier, which is hard to fathom.