Saturday, September 15, 2012
Instant analysis: Texas A&M 48, SMU 3
By Sam Khan Jr.
DALLAS -- Texas A&M's offense kick-started in the second quarter and rolled from that point on as the Aggies dominated SMU, 48-3. Here's how it went down at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday:
It was over when: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel danced his way to a 15-yard touchdown run to give the Aggies a 34-3 lead with 4:27 to go the third quarter. The way SMU's offense produced, you could argue it was done before this point, but it was an answer to SMU's only score in the first three quarters, a Chase Hover 25-yard field goal.
Game ball goes to: Manziel. After a respectable debut against Florida, the redshirt freshman really turned it loose on Saturday against the Mustangs. He set a Texas A&M single-game freshman record with 294 yards passing (breaking Kevin Murray's record of 280 set against Rice in 1983) and accounted for six touchdowns -- four passing and two rushing. He also ran for 124 yards on 13 carries, leading all rushers on Saturday. He also wowed onlookers with his improvisation, whether it was throwing on the run, eluding tacklers or launching the ball from an awkward body position.
Game ball, Part 2: The Texas A&M defense. SMU failed to convert on 13 of its first 14 third-down attempts. Part of that was the Mustangs' execution, but the Aggies' pass rush and secondary deserves credit as well. Damontre Moore picked up two more sacks, giving him five on the year after getting three last week against Florida, and the secondary did a solid job in coverage and tackling.
Rising star:Mike Evans. The redshirt freshman receiver caught six passes for 123 yards, all in the first half. He has good size (6-foot-5, 218 pounds) and has the athleticism to go up and get jump balls. He also showed the speed to get to deep passes in coverage and is physical enough to shove tacklers aside and gain extra yardage. He has only played organized football since his senior year of high school, so it appears he can only grow and improve as he continues to play.
What it means: The SMU team that the Aggies faced is not in the same ballpark as Florida was in terms of talent, but it is good for the Aggies to get their first win of the Kevin Sumlin era. Some of the signatures of Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury's offense emerged -- the big plays, the high tempo -- and the Aggies were able to move the ball consistently, something they didn't do in the second half against Florida. And a second straight good performance from the defense has to be encouraging to Aggies fans.