COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Texas A&M closed out its regular season with a 28-21 loss to No. 5 Missouri on Saturday night at Faurot Field. Here are three takeaways from the Aggies' loss:
Manziel wasn't right: Sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel has taken his fair share of hits this season, and it looks like they're adding up. He appeared to be a beat up player, with his lingering thumb issue on his throwing hand and both ankles taped (one of which wasn't until the second half began). His performance wasn't quite what people have come to expect from Johnny Football (195 passing yards, one touchdown, 21 rushing yards) and Missouri's relentless defense certainly deserves credit for that. But even Tigers' players noted that they thought Manziel was hurt. Asked about his health status afterward, head coach Kevin Sumlin said: "If he wasn't healthy enough to play, he wouldn't have played."
Brighter days ahead for the D: The Aggies' defense has struggled all season, but the unit has showed signs of progress in certain spots. On Saturday night, it happened in the first half. A&M held Missouri to just seven first-half points and 5-of-14 on third down conversions for the night. However, in the third quarter, the Tigers were able to assert their will on a couple drives and got a huge play late on a 57-yard run by Henry Josey. Still, with several freshmen out on the field, the unit gave the team a chance to win. The Aggies' defense a mostly young group that took its lumps this season, but with a large chunk of the players returning in 2014, this should be an improved group.
The Aggies aren't invincible on the road, or at night: Saturday marked Texas A&M's second straight road loss after a streak of 10 wins away from Kyle Field, including nine straight road victories under Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies also were 11-0 in night games under Sumlin prior to Saturday night so that streak came to an end as well.