Texas A&M Aggies: Top 5 moments

Top 5 moments: Comeback at the Grove

December, 11, 2012
GigEmNation is counting down the top five moments of Texas A&M’s 2012 season this week. No. 4 ...

After starting the season by taking care of the ball as well as could be expected (three turnover-free games in the first four), Texas A&M had a poor showing in that department when it traveled to Oxford, Miss., to face Ole Miss. The Aggies turned it over six times against the Rebels, including three that were committed by quarterback Johnny Manziel, marking the first night he looked like a freshman.

[+] EnlargeBen Malena
Spruce Derden/US PresswireTailback Ben Malena rushed 18 times for 142 yards and a touchdown vs. Ole Miss.
Trailing by 10 points in the fourth quarter, the Aggies seemed doomed for defeat, facing a third-and-19 in the shadow of their own goal line with fewer than eight minutes remaining. That's when the seemingly impossible began to occur. Manziel hit Mike Evans for 32 yards, Ben Malena rushed for 36 than Manziel danced into the end zone from 29 yards out to pull to within four, 27-23, with 6:24 left.

The Aggies stopped the Rebels on fourth down on the ensuing possession, and just four plays later the Aggies took the lead as Manziel found Ryan Swope in the back left corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass and a 30-27 lead at the 1:46 mark. Ole Miss tried to tie or win it, but A&M junior defensive back Toney Hurd intercepted quarterback Bo Wallace at the Aggies' 22-yard line to seal the win.

The seemingly improbable come-from-behind win was a confidence booster for the Aggies, who made mistakes and played a flawed game yet were still able to pull the victory. Eventually, they put together an undefeated road record in their first SEC season.

Top 5 moments: 'How'd he do that?'

December, 10, 2012
GigEmNation is counting down the top five moments of Texas A&M’s 2012 season this week. No. 5 ...

When Texas A&M traveled to Dallas to take on SMU, redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel made one of the "Wow" plays that makes fans and observers wonder, "How did he do that?" in the third quarter of the Aggies' 48-3 victory. Part of the reason Manziel is nicknamed "Johnny Football" is because of plays like this.

Texas A&M was leading 20-0 and facing third-and-9 at the SMU 42. Manziel dropped back and SMU linebacker Taylor Reed found a hole in the middle of the offensive line, shot the gap and had a clear shot at Manziel and a sack.

Manziel had other ideas. He spun out of the would-be sack and sprinted left as SMU linebacker Ja'Gared Davis sprinted toward him. Before Davis could get there, Manziel leaped off one foot, leaned forward and fired a pass over a leaping Davis. The pass hit senior receiver Kenric McNeal directly on the No. 5 on his jersey and he turned toward the end zone. He sprinted the final 29 yards untouched for the 42-yard touchdown.

It was one of many highlight-worthy plays of the day for Manziel, but it was probably the most impressive, considering how accurate the throw was after he dodged two defenders.

"With Johnny, of course, he's Captain Amazing back there, not getting sacked," senior receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu said after that game. "Johnny Football, Captain Amazing, I'm pretty sure next week we'll have another [nickname] for him. It's a growing legend going on."

Nwachukwu was right. It was a legend that only grew bigger as the season wore on.


Recruits Miss Lone Star Showdown
National recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton spoke with top prospects at Nike's The Opening regional in Dallas. The findings were overwhelming: Players want the game back.