ARLINGTON, Texas – Johnny Manziel stretched out both of his arms and ran off the field as if he was flying.
With the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback known as Johnny Football, Texas A&M certainly is soaring in the Southeastern Conference.
Manziel tiptoed the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown on the first drive of the Cotton Bowl, the first of his four touchdowns as part of his bowl-record 516 total yards, and the Aggies capped their first SEC season with a 41-13 win over 12th-ranked Oklahoma on Friday.
“To come in and go against a Big 12 rival and do everything we wanted as a team, and send these seniors out with a win, we couldn’t feel any better,” Manziel said after his first game since becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman.
With first-year coach Kevin Sumlin and their young star quarterback, the Aggies (11-2) broke the SEC record with 7,261 total yards this season after piling up 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 touchdown pass to Ryan Swope with four minutes left in the third quarter for a 34-13 lead. They got louder and longer after that.
“I think tonight was really indicative of this season,” Sumlin said. “It’s one of the teams I thought in the country that truly got better every week.”
Texas A&M never trailed while winning its final six games. That included its win at SEC champion Alabama, which plays for the BCS national title Monday.
Manziel set an FBS bowl record with his 229 yards rushing on 17 carries, and completed 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards.
“Johnny Manziel is everything he was billed to be, expected him to be,” said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who after the game shook the quarterback’s hand and told him “good job.”
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 Louisiana State only two years ago.
Oklahoma, led by quarterback Landry Jones in his 50th career start, had 401 total yards as a team.
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, in a career that started on the same field in the 2009 season opener when he replaced injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford in the first college game at Cowboys Stadium.
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.
Already with a 24-yard gain on an earlier third down on their opening drive, the Aggies had third-and-9 and 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.
Manziel added a 5-yard TD run on a bootleg in the second quarter, and capped the scoring with a 34-yard pass to Uzoma Nwachukwu with nine minutes left.
The first TD run was Manziel’s school-record 20th of the season. He became the fourth FBS quarterback with 20 TDs rushing and 20 passing in the same season, joining Auburn’s Cam Newton, Florida’s Tim Tebow and UNR’s Colin Kaepernick.NORTH DAKOTA STATE OUT TO REPEAT AS FCS CHAMP
FRISCO, Texas – The Football Championship Subdivision title rematch between North Dakota State and Sam Houston State today is something of a do-over for several key returning offensive players.
Last year, a fake punt was the most important play in North Dakota State’s 17-6 victory in a game dominated by defense. The Bison shut down Sam Houston running back Tim Flanders and quarterback Brian Bell, on their way to becoming the fourth straight first-time FCS champion.
Flanders and Bell have led Sam Houston (11-3) back to the title game, but they again will have to overcome a top-notch defense. North Dakota (13-1) leads the FCS in passing defense, scoring defense and total defense. The Bison have held 11 of their past 15 opponents under 250 yards, including last year’s title game when Sam Houston had only 210.
North Dakota’s offense wasn’t much better a year ago, although returning quarterback Brock Jensen accounted for both touchdowns.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS