The first half was ugly. The second half, however, provided both clarity and victory Saturday night for Texas A&M, as the Aggies downed Southeastern Conference divisional rival Mississippi State in Kyle Field's home finale.
Entering halftime, A&M led just 16-7 over the Bulldogs, having scored on its second offensive series to initially take the lead, on a blocked-punt-turned-safety and with less than a minute prior to the half. No spark. No enthusiasm. Nothing.
The Aggies' impressive second half, though, proved different, as the A&M offense jump-started behind sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner finished the day 30-of-39 for 446 yards passing, five touchdowns and three interceptions, along with 14 carries for 47 yards and no scores.
The efficiency yielded historic results, as Manziel and fellow Heisman candidate Mike Evans each proceeded to break A&M school records. Manziel, behind his five touchdowns, was able to surpass Jerrod Johnson's single-season touchdown record, now totaling at 31 for the season through the air.
Additionally, the sophomore took over the school record for career total offense, again taking over Johnson's old record of 8,888 for his current 9.040.
As for Evans, who concluded the game with five catches for a team-best 116 yards and no scores, he surpassed the single-season school record for receiving yards and now totals at 1,263 yards on the season, breaking Ryan Swope's 1,207 yard tally from 2011.
Overall, the Aggies' second half included five touchdowns and helped the team continue its 40 or more points-per-game streak—which now stretches to 13, the best in the FBS.
Looking back on the game, A&M's strong offensive performance will serve to bolster the Aggies into top-notch bowl contention, especially with executives from each of the conference's top tie-ins all in attendance in the Kyle Field press box.
And as I said just last week, Texas A&M should be a BCS lock if they win out the season. A 51-point performance against Mississippi State, who has proven to be difficult, but not threatening, this season, unlocks doors to most any bowl associated with the SEC, outside Alabama's seemingly lone entrance into the national championship.
Ultimately, the second half may serve as the difference-maker when many of the bowl committees order their choices this December. The scouts saw passion and energy from this A&M squad, especially from the fan base, whose chants of "one more year" rang out the final minute and a half for third-year star athletes Manziel and Evans.
The case for A&M's BCS bid is on the table, and all the Aggies need to do to lock it down is drop ranked opponents LSU and Missouri in the Aggies' road closers.
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