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Sunday, September 23, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Texas A&M 70, SC State 14

By Sam Khan Jr.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M improved to 2-1 on the season by cruising to a 70-14 win over FCS foe South Carolina State on Saturday at Kyle Field. Let's take a glance at the good and not-so-good of the win:

THREE UP:

1. Special teams: If there was one unit that really shined bright, it was the special teams. Senior Dustin Harris broke a school and SEC single-game record for punt return yards with 246, which included a 96-yard touchdown. He led the nation in punt return average last year and appears to be on track for another big season as the Aggies' punt return specialist again.

2. Manziel and Moore shine again: Johnny Manziel went 15-for-20 for 174 yards and three touchdowns passing while rushing for 78 yards and two touchdowns. He got all that done in a half and didn't have to play the second. Demontre Moore recorded a sack for the third straight game and has six on the year now. He led the team in tackles with six and had three tackles for loss, giving him eight tackles for loss on the season.

3. Penalty count down: Penalties has been a point of emphasis for Kevin Sumlin and the coaching staff. On Saturday, the Aggies had their lowest number of penalties in a game, recording just two infractions for 20 yards -- both of which came in the first quarter.

THREE DOWN:

1. Early game rushing attack: Aside from the scrambling and runs of Johnny Manziel, it took some time for the Aggies' running game going. They weren't explosive until Ben Malena broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. To that point, the running backs had combined for just 47 yards on 13 carries.

2. Slow start on offense: The Aggies scored 14 first-quarter points and had 98 yards so it's not like they were bad, but they certainly could have been better, especially against an FCS opponent. They punted three times in the first 15:17 of the game. Manziel was sacked on third down to end the offense's first drive and Malena wasn't able to convert a 3rd-and-1 on the Aggies' third drive, but eventually, they kicked it into gear and got it going.

3. Jameill Showers: It's a bit of nit-picking here since the Aggies won going away and Showers is the backup, but he did struggle in his time on the field. Against SMU last week, Showers was impressive in his limited action, going 6-of-7 passing for 76 yards and leading a touchdown drive. On Saturday, Showers was 2-for-10 passing for just nine yards and he threw an interception on an ill-advised throw while trying to scramble.