Christian Brinser punt for 43 yards, returned by De'Vante Harris for a loss of 3 yards, fumbled, forced by Morgan Steward, recovered by Misso John Gibson at the TexAM 36.
Give Texas A&M credit. The Aggies didn't sit around and wait for somebody else to make a move on Kevin Sumlin before making their own.
Sumlin was assuredly going to be a commodity during the offseason coaching search sweepstakes.
Texas A&M knew that and wisely didn’t see any reason to wait, especially with Sumlin perched at or near the top of USC’s wish list.
The fact that it was announced Saturday prior to the regular season finale against Missouri that Sumlin had agreed to a new six-year contract with Texas A&M tells you all you need to know.
The Aggies didn’t want Sumlin out there on the open market with the Trojans, or anyone else, hunting for a head coach even though he already signed a new deal in January with Texas A&M that paid him $3.1 million annually.
So this is his second big bump financially in less than a year. The translation: The Aggies don’t plan on standing idly by and watching the coach who’s helped them make such a big splash in the SEC walk away.
Plus, Sumlin had been recruiting like gangbusters at Texas A&M. Keeping him in place there in the state of Texas will only solidify what the Aggies have already done on the recruiting trail.
Down the road, Sumlin’s a guy who’s also going to be on some NFL radars.
For him to leave Texas A&M, it would take a no-brainer type of job. His offense is a huge draw for prospects all over the country, particularly skill players. Who doesn’t want to come in and be the next Johnny Manziel?
The other thing the Aggies have going for them is that they have something to sell that nobody else in that state can. Their pitch to recruits is that they can play in the SEC and still stay in-state and play their college football.
The Aggies have to continue to beef up their defensive recruiting if they’re going to win an SEC championship. They’re ranked 107th nationally in total defense this season and have given up 33 or more points in six of their seven league games.
Sumlin feels like he’s well on his way to shoring up some of those defensive deficiencies on the recruiting trail.
But the most important recruit the Aggies have landed to date is keeping Sumlin in College Station.
With the regular season winding down and the coaching job rumor mill about to hit full swing, Texas A&M did its best to ensure that its head coach won't be on the market.
The Aggies and coach Kevin Sumlin reached an agreement on a new six-year contract, the school announced Saturday, hours before the team's scheduled kickoff against No. 5 Missouri.
Sources tell ESPN Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen that Sumlin has agreed to forsake NFL bids as part of his new contract. The sources said Sumlin's new $5 million-per-year deal guarantees him to coach the Aggies until the school has completed and played in its $450 million renovation of Kyle Field, which is set to open in 2015.
The contract is pending approval by the school's board of regents.
"Coach Sumlin has demonstrated why he is considered among the nation's elite football coaches," athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement released by the school. "His coaching and recruiting abilities are only secondary to his integrity, class and passion for his student-athletes and this university. Texas A&M is making a sincere commitment to Kevin."
It is the second new contract Sumlin has received in 11 months. After being hired before the 2012 season, Sumlin signed a new deal on Jan. 1 that paid him a base salary of $3.1 million per season. That deal was set to expire after the 2017 season. The new deal, if Sumlin coaches through it, would keep the 49-year-old in Aggieland through the 2019 season.
Several reports have cited or speculated that Sumlin is the top candidate on the radar of USC athletic director Pat Haden to fill its vacancy after Lane Kiffin was fired earlier this season. Sumlin has also been rumored to be a possible target for NFL teams.
1. High stakes for Mizzou: It's pretty simple. If the Tigers win, they're in the SEC championship game. If they don't, South Carolina goes and the Tigers have to watch. So the task at hand is clear. There's a ton of buildup, buzz and pageantry to go with this one: a capacity crowd is expected, it's senior night for 18 Tigers and it's "blackout" night for Missouri with all-black unis. Fitting for what could be a historic night. And the 10-1 Tigers get to do it at home against the Aggies for the first time in a while. The last time A&M traveled to Columbia was 2007 and the team's last three meetings were in Aggieland.
2. Missouri DEs vs. Texas A&M OTs: This should be one of the fun matchups to watch tonight. Missouri defensive ends Michael Sam (10 sacks) and Kony Ealy (6.5 sacks) lead a defense that is tops in the SEC in sacks this season (35). They'll go up against a pair of talented offensive tackles in Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Cedric Ogbuehi. Matthews is a projected first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft and Ogbuehi figures to have an NFL future as well when his time at Texas A&M is up.
3. Bounce back for Manziel?: Last week was a rough one for Johnny Manziel and the Aggies as they took a 34-10 beating at LSU. It was the team's worst loss in the Kevin Sumlin era and probably Manziel's worst performance. The Heisman Trophy winner usually thrives on big stages and the stage will be huge on Saturday. His chances for a second Heisman seemed almost wiped out by LSU, but if he has a big performance and leads A&M to a win, who knows?
4. When the Tigers have the ball: Missouri has numerous offensive weapons, from quarterbacks James Franklin and Maty Mauk to a trio of running backs led by Henry Josey to several tall, athletic receivers led by the trio of Marcus Lucas, Dorial Green-Beckham and L'Damian Washington. Texas A&M's defense, well, it hasn't been good this season. The Aggies rank 107th in yards allowed per game (460.1) and they're in the bottom 40 in both rushing and passing yards allowed per game. Missouri ranks 16th in offensive yards per game (491.9) and tied for 13th in scoring (39.7). On paper, it's a mismatch. Will it play out that way on the field?
5. A&M running game: Aside from a few called runs and several scrambles by Manziel, there wasn't much of a running game for Texas A&M last week. Only six times did a running back carry the football. Sumlin said they could have "done some things differently," and it'll be interesting to see if the Aggies use the ground attack more this week, especially considering the pass rush that Missouri possesses.
Seven games remain after Thursday's Egg Bowl and Friday's Arkansas-LSU game, none bigger than No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl. One of the best rivalries in college football has a lot more juice this year, as it's only the second time Alabama and Auburn will play when both are ranked in the top 5 of the AP Poll.
And while it might be a victory for AU to simply be in a game of this magnitude after going Oh-for-the-SEC last season, try telling Gus Malzahn or QB Nick Marshall to settle for a consolation prize. Alabama's Nick Saban and QB AJ McCarron, on the other hand, look to extend their already loaded legacies with another shot at postseason glory.
The next biggest game on today's slate will decide who represents the SEC East in Atlanta, as Missouri plays host to Texas A&M. These Tigers have a turnaround season of their own brewing, having gone 5-7 with a 2-6 conference record in their first shot at the SEC last year. What better way to complete the 180 and win a division crown than to face the team they came into the SEC with last season?
When the two met for the first time as SEC foes last year in College Station, Texas, Johnny Manziel was 32-of-44 passing for 372 yards and three TDs while running for 67 yards and two more scores. The Aggies cruised in a 59-29 romp that sealed Manziel's Heisman Trophy résumé. This season, Johnny Football is again vying for the Heisman, but he's coming off the worst loss of his career and coach Kevin Sumlin's brief tenure at A&M. The Aggies will have to prove they haven't lost their edge as this season's goals have dwindled. Mizzou, on the other hand, expects to be on a high with a sold-out, black-out-attired crowd urging on what would be one of the biggest wins in school history.
Waiting in the wings for Missouri to falter is South Carolina, which plays at home in its annual game against in-state rival Clemson. This Palmetto State showdown is a star-studded affair that features two top-10 teams, but the recent history is lopsided in the Gamecocks' favor. Clemson's record-breaking senior QB Tajh Boyd has never beaten South Carolina and will have to shake off the nightmares of last season's game when Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney set USC's school record for sacks in a game with 4.5. The Gamecocks have a chance to do something they've never done before in a series that began in 1896 -- win five games in a row.
Another SEC-ACC showdown looks far less competitive down in the Sunshine State, where sad-sack Florida has the daunting task of trying to end its epic six-game losing streak against the powerhouse No. 2 team in the nation, Florida State. Aside from an unbeaten season, the prospect of a BCS championship game berth and a Heisman Trophy for redshirt freshman sensation Jameis Winston on the line, the Seminoles have a score to settle after last season's 37-26 collapse against the Gators in Tallahassee. Always one of the more physical and intense rivalry games in the nation, Florida-Florida State this year feels more like a mismatch, as the Gators have suffered enough injuries and humiliation to last decades.
The other two SEC-ACC games are also somewhat subdued by recent events, as Georgia visits Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt plays host to Wake Forest. The Bulldogs are still reeling from the loss of star quarterback Aaron Murray, who suffered a torn ACL last week. He will be replaced by Hutson Mason, a fourth-year junior who has the confidence of his coaches and teammates. The taller task for Georgia today will be stopping the Yellow Jackets' triple-option attack.
After beating three straight SEC East foes, Vanderbilt and coach James Franklin have already made history with a third consecutive season that will culminate in a bowl appearance. Facing the Demon Deacons simply provides another opportunity to extend an amazing streak of wins in the month of November. The Commodores haven't lost in November since 2011 and haven't lost to Wake since 2010, before Franklin arrived.
Rounding out the conference schedule is UK's annual tilt with Tennessee, two of the league's bottom-three teams. Had they upset Vanderbilt last week, Butch Jones' Vols could have been playing for a feel-good bowl berth, but the Dores pulled out a last-second comeback and ripped UT's heart out on a fake jump-pass quarterback keeper. Mark Stoops' Wildcats, on the other hand, would be thrilled with any kind of SEC win. Kentucky is 0-7 this season after going winless in league play last year and hasn't won a conference game in its last 15 tries.
- Florida State at Florida, noon ET, ESPN
- Wake Forest at Vanderbilt, 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC TV
- Alabama at Auburn, 3:30 p.m., CBS
- Georgia at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m., ABC
- Clemson at South Carolina, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
- Tennessee at Kentucky, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
- Texas A&M at Missouri, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Sam Khan Jr. previews Saturday night's clash between No. 5 Missouri and No. 21 Texas A&M. WIth a win, Missouri clinches the outright SEC East Division title and a berth in the SEC championship game.
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonMissouri leads the conference in sacks (35) and total pressures (109) this season.
The Missouri Tigers are just one win away from clinching the SEC East title. First, it must conquer reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies (Saturday, 7:45 ET on ESPN). Manziel has been as productive as ever this season, leading all BCS-automatic-qualifying (AQ) quarterbacks in total offense (382 yards per game) and touchdowns responsible for (40).
Before last week’s loss to LSU, Texas A&M had scored 40 or more points in 13 consecutive games, tied for the longest streak in major college football history. However, Missouri has not allowed more than 28 points in a game all season.
In order to slow down Manziel and win the division, Missouri’s defense will need to rely on arguably its two biggest strengths: its pass rush and its ability to defend in goal-to-go situations.
Manziel vs Missouri’s Pass Rush
Missouri has been the best pass-rushing team in the SEC, leading the conference in sacks (35) and total pressures (109). That pressure is a large reason why it has forced an SEC-high 16 interceptions.
The Tigers have allowed just one touchdown pass all season when pressuring the opposing quarterback, though it came at a costly time, by South Carolina’s Connor Shaw during the Gamecocks’ fourth-quarter comeback that eventually led to Missouri’s only loss.
When Manziel has been forced to throw under pressure, he has been ineffective, completing 44 percent of his passes. In the Aggies’ last two losses, Manziel threw two interceptions, was sacked five times and completed 36 percent of his passes while under pressure.
Missouri’s pass rush is largely generated by three- and four-man rushes. Its 30 sacks when sending four or fewer pass rushers leads all AQ schools.
However, Manziel has been elite at torching such rushes. When the opponent sends four-or-fewer rushers, he has thrown for 21 touchdowns on 10.0 yards per attempt and has scrambled for an AQ-high 417 yards on 7.3 yards per scramble.
Overall, he leads all AQ quarterbacks with 530 scramble yards.
Missouri has been effective at containing quarterback scrambles lately, allowing a total of 27 scramble yards in the last five games combined.
Missouri’s Defense in Goal-to-Go Situations
Another area where Missouri’s defense has been elite is in goal-to-go situations. Missouri allows touchdowns on 48 percent of goal-to-go attempts, best among AQ teams. Opposing quarterbacks have just a 21 QBR in those situations.
Manziel has been mistake-prone in goal-to-go situations with four interceptions. No other FBS player has thrown for more than two. His 28 QBR in those situations ranks 110th out of 127 qualified quarterbacks.
The Tigers goal-to-go run defense has also been strong, allowing 0.4 yards per carry in the red zone, fewest in the SEC. However, four of the seven rushing touchdowns Missouri has allowed have come from quarterbacks. Manziel leads all SEC quarterbacks with six rushing touchdowns in goal-to-go situations.
If Manziel can be efficient close to the goal line, Missouri may be in trouble. The only quarterback responsible for multiple goal-to-go touchdowns against Missouri this season was Shaw in the Tigers’ only loss.