Sunday, November 4, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: TAMU 38, Miss. State 13
By Sam Khan Jr.
Texas A&M got off to another fast start and won another Southeastern Conference road game by double digits, rolling to a 38-13 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium. Let's look at the good and the bad of the win:
1. Johnny Manziel: The redshirt freshman quarterback turned in another memorable performance, going 30-of-36 passing for 311 yards and rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He had a few of his signature "Johnny Football" moments and had the offense running on cruise control for much of the day.
2. The offensive line: The unit had another great day, keeping Manziel comfortable in the pocket and paving the way for a huge rushing day. The Aggies finished with 361 rushing yards thanks to the job done by the quintet of Luke Joeckel, Jarvis Harrison, Patrick Lewis, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Matthews. Junior running back Ben Malena finished with 112 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
3. The pass rush: The Aggies only finished with one sack, but they pressured Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell plenty. They finished with eight hurries, including a team-high three from true freshman Julien Obioha. One of those pressures by Obioha forced Russell to rush a pass that was picked off by another true freshman, De'Vante Harris. The defense as a whole played well for the most part, particularly in the first half, when the unit held the Bulldogs to 85 yards. Mississippi State was only 2-of-10 on third downs in the game.
1. Kicking game: The performance of redshirt freshman kicker Taylor Bertolet continues to be inconsistent. He was 1-of-3 on field goal attempts on Saturday, having one field goal blocked and missing another. For the season, he's 10-of-16 (62.5 percent). That has to be a concern for the coaching staff, particularly with a game upcoming against the nation's No. 1 team, where points could be at a premium.
2. Bumps and bruises: Redshirt freshman receiver Mike Evans left the game on a couple of occasions with an apparent hamstring injury bothering him, though he still played through it to finish with nine catches for 97 yards. Freshman running back Trey Williams also left the game with a hamstring injury in the first half. Damontre Moore has been playing through injuries since the LSU game. As coach Kevin Sumlin said at halftime, the Aggies have several guys "limping around."
3. Return game: This is a nitpick, but the Aggies didn't have any returns on five Mississippi State punts, though that can be credited to punter Baker Swedenburg's efforts as well as the Bulldogs' coverage team. All five punts resulted in a fair catch, and the Aggies' only kick return was for 18 yards. It didn't matter on this day, however, as the Aggies were strong in just about every other facet.