For the second time this season, No. 16 Texas A&M bounced back from a gut-wrenching loss with a blowout win, rocking Vanderbilt, 56-24, on Saturday afternoon in College Station, per CBS Sports' Eye on College Football:
The Aggies were out-possessed by the Commodores on their home field but found yards and points easy to come by. Turnovers nearly derailed Kevin Sumlin's squad midway through the game, but even a plethora of careless mistakes wasn't enough to power Vanderbilt to another upset win.
|(16) Texas A&M 56, Vanderbilt 24|
|Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4 SEC)||0||17||0||7||24|
|Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 SEC)||21||7||21||7||56|
Determined to make up for last week's last-minute loss to Auburn, Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M came out firing from the start. The Aggies set the tone early on, opening the game with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that saw Manziel complete all 10 of his pass attempts.
According to Texas A&M's official Twitter account, Manziel's touchdown strike to Derel Walker marked the 17th time that the Aggies have opened up with a touchdown under second-year head coach Kevin Sumlin:
Defensively, the Aggies were much improved to start Saturday's game, forcing three consecutive punts on Vanderbilt's first three drives.
Manziel and the offense would take full advantage of each of the Commodores' stalled drives, scoring on their first four possessions of the game to take a 28-0 lead just over a minute into the second quarter.
AUTigers.com's Jason Caldwell puts the Aggies' explosive start into proper perspective:
But just when it appeared as if the rout were on, Vanderbilt's offense woke up and was aided by some extremely sloppy play from Manziel and company. After the Commodores finally got on the scoreboard with a field goal midway through the second quarter, Texas A&M turned the ball over on downs at midfield.
Patton Robinette would toss a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Krause moments later to make it a three-possession game. And after a Manziel interception, Vanderbilt took advantage of a short field to make it 17 unanswered points before halftime.
Surprisingly, it was Texas A&M's defense that sparked the Aggies' turnaround in the second half, as Howard Matthews picked off Robinette and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown just seven seconds into the third quarter.
Despite more sloppiness from the Aggies offense in the third quarter, the Commodores were unable to recover from Robinette's poor decision, turning the ball over on downs, punting twice and throwing an interception on their next four offensive possessions.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner finally put the game away with six minutes to play in the third quarter, finding Walker again on a 14-yard touchdown strike that put Texas A&M up by 25 points.
Junior backup quarterback Matt Joeckel replaced Manziel under center on the very next Texas A&M drive, as Sumlin and the Aggies looked to run out the clock. It was a strategy that paid off, as Vanderbilt was outscored 14-7 down the stretch.
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, QB: A
Johnny Manziel wasn't perfect on Saturday, but he continued to build on his Heisman case, completing 25 of 35 passes for 305 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception.
The fact he only needed 39 minutes to bury Vanderbilt tells you all you need to know about how effective Manziel was during his time on the field, per ESPN Stats & Info on Twitter:
Jerron Seymour, Vanderbilt, RB: D
Vanderbilt's leading rusher, Jerron Seymour had to be effective on Saturday in order to relieve some of the pressure on quarterback Patton Robinette and help the Commodores keep pace with Texas A&M's explosive offense.
Unfortunately, the sophomore went largely unnoticed. Despite averaging 5.5 yards per carry coming into Saturday, Seymour was able to pick up just 53 yards and a short touchdown run on 16 carries (3.3 yards per carry). Keep in mind that this was an Aggies defensive unit that ranked 113th in the nation against the run coming into the weekend.
The 5'7", 200-pound back was a non-factor in the passing game, as well, catching one ball for 11 yards.
Mike Evans, Texas A&M, WR: A+
Johnny Football's favorite target showed up once again on Saturday, averaging over 15 yards per reception on five catches and scoring two touchdowns to power a potent Aggies aerial attack. Though it wasn't quite the 287-yard, four-touchdown performance we saw from Evans last week, the 6'5" sophomore certainly maximized on his opportunities and made another strong case that he's the best receiver in the nation.
Texas A&M will have a week to rest up and recover before next weekend's showdown with struggling UTEP. The Aggies will be heavy favorites at home against the Miners and should be guaranteed a victory.
Meanwhile, Vanderbilt will enjoy a bye in Week 10 before returning to action against Florida in The Swamp on Nov. 9.
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