Manziel the best scrambler in the business
November, 27, 2012
By Sharon Katz and Tobin Petitpas | ESPN Stats & Info
Scott Halloran, Getty ImagesMissouri found out just how dangerous Johnny Manziel can be when gets outside the pocket.
Manziel’s 439 yards of total offense in the game pushed his season total to 4,600, breaking the SEC single-season record held by Cam Newton in his 2010 Heisman Trophy season.
When Newton broke the record in 2010, he supplanted Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy season in 2007.
Manziel has been putting up impressive numbers all season. He had three games in which he had at least 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards, the most for any player in a single season since 2000.
The rest of the nation has had eight such games the entire season.
Manziel also has six games with at least two touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns. That's tied with Tebow in 2007 for the most such games in a season since 2000. Collin Klein is second in FBS this season with three such games.
But what makes Manziel the Heisman front-runner has more to do with the style in which he plays than the raw numbers that he is amassing.
Manziel has an uncanny ability to make plays happen when things break down. As Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban told the media earlier this season: “He is very instinctive. He has a unique ability to extend plays and seems to know when to take off and run it.”
Look no further than Manziel’s “Heisman moment” against Alabama when he bobbled the ball then scrambled to his left and threw back across the middle for a 10-yard touchdown to Ryan Swope.
This season, Manziel has completed 60 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns when scrambling out of the pocket.
To put that into perspective, fellow SEC quarterbacks AJ McCarron, Zach Mettenberger, Aaron Murray and Connor Shaw have four passing touchdowns combined when forced out of the pocket and are completing just over 40 percent of their passes in those situations.
Against Missouri on Saturday, Manziel completed 10 of 12 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns when forced out of the pocket, including 5 of 6 passes on third down.
Manziel also makes plays with his legs when forced to improvise. He has gained 784 of his SEC-leading 1,181 rush yards on scrambles.
That's 43 more yards scrambling than Braxton Miller, Marcus Mariota and Klein have combined. Manziel has scrambled for 35 first downs this season, including 20 first downs on third down.
On third down, Manziel has converted 50 percent of his running or passing attempts. As a result, Texas A&M leads FBS with a 55 percent third-down conversion rate.
In the Aggies’ win against Alabama, Manziel converted 9 of 13 third down chances (69 percent), which was the highest conversion percentage for a quarterback against Alabama in the last nine seasons.
Whether Johnny Football wins the Heisman is yet to be determined, but it is safe to say that he has scrambled his way to a freshman season to remember.
What is most impressive may not be the records that he has broken, but the style in which he has broken the records, something that is unlike anything that the SEC has ever seen before.
UCLA-Texas A&M Schedule Football Series
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35