Sunday, November 18, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: A&M 47, Sam Houston 28
By Sam Khan Jr.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M took care of business against FCS opponent Sam Houston State with an easy 47-28 win. Let's look at the good and the bad from the No. 8 Aggies' victory:
Uzoma Nwachukwu caught four passes for 160 yards and an 89-yard touchdown against Sam Houston State.
1. Uzoma Nwachukwu and Mike Evans: Nwachuwkwu, a senior receiver, hasn't always been a go-to guy this season. But on Saturday he had a big day, catching four passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. His 89-yard touchdown reception on the Aggies' first offensive play of the second half showed his hands and his speed and why he is still a good weapon in this offense. Evans looked as healthy as he has in weeks, showing the explosion that has made him a go-to target for quarterback Johnny Manziel all season. The redshirt freshman receiver caught six passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns and caught passes of 33 and 20 yards.
2. First-team defense: The Aggies' first unit on defense shut out the Bearkats. Sam Houston State didn't score a point until the 1:08 mark in the third quarter, when reserves had entered the game. Even though the Bearkats were able to move the ball a little in the first half, the Aggies stepped it up in key spots, such as third downs. They held the Bearkats to 3 of 10 third-down conversions in the first half.
3. Johnny Manziel: The redshirt freshman quarterback didn't do anything to hurt his Heisman Trophy candidacy, going 14-of-20 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He did throw an interception, but it didn't matter. He did try a point-after-touchdown kick, which provided some laughs as it sailed wide right, but he also became the first SEC player and first freshman in NCAA history to record 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
1. Christine Michael: The senior running back's season hasn't gone how many envisioned and on Saturday he was ejected from the game early in the second quarter for throwing a punch, according to referee Ken Williamson. Southeastern Conference officials haven't yet ruled on whether there will be further repercussions.
2. Defensive reserves: The Aggies want to finish games strongly and have been able to on several occasions this season. But on Saturday the reserves struggled, yielding four Sam Houston State touchdowns in the game's final 16:08. Head coach Kevin Sumlin after the game attributed the struggles to the style of offense Sam Houston State plays (spread option) and the limited repetitions reserves get in practice against unconventional offenses.
3. Kicking game: Once again the Aggies failed on a point-after-touchdown attempt. This time, kicker Taylor Bertolet wasn't to blame -- there was a high snap from long-snapper Jake Matthews and holder Ryan Epperson couldn't quite get full control of it for Bertolet -- but failed extra points have been an issue for the Aggies for much of the season. The second missed PAT was courtesy of Manziel, who was making his first college kick try. Neither of the failed attempts affected the outcome.