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Manziel leads Aggies to victory

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Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) throws a pass during practice, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, in Miami Shores, Fla. Alabama is scheduled to play Notre Dame on Monday, Jan. 7, in the BCS national championship NCAA college football game. AP Photo

By The Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 7:22 p.m.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Johnny Manziel tiptoed the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown on Texas A&M's first drive of the game.

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback known as Johnny Football and the 10th-ranked Aggies were just getting warmed up in the Cotton Bowl. There were plenty more highlights after that nifty run.

In his first game since becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman, Manziel set a Cotton Bowl-record with 516 total yards and accounted for four TDs as the Aggies capped their first SEC season with a 41-13 win over 12th-ranked Oklahoma on Friday night.

With first-year coach Kevin Sumlin and their young star quarterback, the Aggies (11-2) fit right in with the SEC after leaving the Big 12. They broke the SEC record with their 7,261 total yards this season (the first over 7,000 after 633 in Cowboys Stadium). They also averaged more than 40 points a game.

And they capped their debut season with an overwhelming victory in the only postseason game matching teams from those power conferences. It is the Aggies' first 11-win season since 1998, when they won their only Big 12 title.

The chants of “S-E-C!, S-E-C!” began after Manziel's 33-yard TD pass to Ryan Swope with 4 minutes left in the third quarter for a 34-13 lead. They got louder and longer after that.

Texas A&M led by only a point at halftime, but scored on its first three drives of the second half — on drives of 91 and 89 yards before Swope's score on a fourth-and-5 play.

Oklahoma (10-3), which like the Aggies entered the game with a five-game winning streak, went three-and-out on its first three drives after halftime.

SEC teams have won the last five Cotton Bowls, all against Big 12 teams, and nine out of 10. That included Texas A&M's loss to LSU two years ago.

Manziel set an FBS bowl record with his 229 yards rushing on 17 carries and completed 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards.

Oklahoma, led by quarterback Landry Jones in his 50th career start, had only 312 total yards.

Jones completed 35 of 48 passes for 278 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He won 39 games and three bowls for the Sooners. His career started on the same field in the 2009 season opener when he replaced injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford in the first college game played at Cowboys Stadium.

Already with a 24-yard gain on an earlier third down, the Aggies had third-and-9 on their opening drive when Manziel rolled to his left and took off. When he juked around a defender and got near the sideline, he tiptoed to stay in bounds and punctuated his score with a high-step over the pylon for a quick lead.

Officials reviewed the touchdown play, but it was clear by the replay shown on the huge video screen above the Cowboys Stadium field that Manziel stayed inbounds.

Manziel added a 5-yard TD run on a bootleg play in the second quarter, and capped the scoring with a 34-yard pass to Uzoma Nwachukwu with 9 minutes left in the game.

The first TD run was Manziel's school-record 20th of the season. He became only the fourth FBS quarterback with 20 TDs rushing and 20 passing in the same season.

The other 20-20 quarterbacks were Auburn's Cam Newton and Florida's Tim Tebow, who like Manziel are Heisman winners from the SEC, and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.

 

 
 


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