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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)-- Johnny Manziel threw for 426 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score in less than three quarters to give No. 7 Texas A&M to a 65-28 win over Sam Houston State on Saturday night.
Texas A&M's suspension-depleted defense was burned for several big plays by the Bearkats (1-1), the FCS runner-up the last two seasons, in the final tuneup before next week's rematch with top-ranked Alabama.
Sam Houston's Timothy Flanders had 170 yards rushing with two scores and added a TD reception.
Texas A&M's Mike Evans had a career-high 155 yards receiving, Tra Carson ran for 51 with two touchdowns and Ben Malena had 68 yards rushing and a score.
Freshman Kenny Hill added 74 yards passing to give A&M a school-record 500 yards passing and the Aggies (2-0) had 38 first downs to tie the school mark.
Manziel threw an interception in the first quarter, but looked sharp otherwise, distributing the ball well as he completed passes to nine different players in the first half.
The Bearkats cut the lead to nine points when Flanders gashed through the line for a 68-yard touchdown run on the second play of the third quarter.
Carson scored on a 1-yard run before Manziel threw a 10-yard pass to Brandon Williams to extend the lead to 44-21.
Another big play -- this one a 75-yard reception by Torrance Williams -- got Sam Houston State within 44-28.p>Manziel finished his day with a 6-yard touchdown run with about five minutes left in the third quarter.
Cornerback De'Vante Harris, linebacker Steven Jenkins and defensive end Gavin Stansbury missed the game serving the last of two game suspensions for violating team rules. Cornerback Deshazor Everett was suspended for the first half for a targeting penalty last week.
Everett had an interception in the third quarter.
The game was tied at 7 before the Aggies scored three straight touchdowns to push the lead to 27-7. Manziel found Sabian Holmes on a 27-yard pass for the first score before Malena's 1-yard run put A&M up 20-7 early in the second quarter. There was a bad hold on the extra point after Malena's score and Taylor Bertolet's kick failed.
Manziel ran for 6 yards and lowered his head and bulled over cornerback Shelby Davis near the goal line for what was first ruled a touchdown on the play before Malena's score. A review determined that Manziel stepped out of bounds at the 1.
Manziel floated a perfect pass into the corner of the end zone that Ja'Quay Williams stretched out to grab for a 20-yard touchdown about 4 1/2 minutes before halftime.
Flanders added a touchdown when the Aggies bit on a fake and Brian Bell found him wide open for a 33-yard score which cut the lead to 27-14 with about two minutes left in the first half.
Bertolet's field goal as time expired in the second quarter made it 30-14.
Sam Houston State tied at 7-all with about eight minutes left in the first quarter when Flanders scored on an 11-yard run. It capped an 81-yard drive where the Bearkats did it all on the ground. Flanders had a run of 20 yards on the play before the touchdown.
Linebacker Eric Fieilo intercepted Manziel just outside of the end zone on A&M's next drive, but the Bearkats couldn't take advantage of the error and soon had to punt.
ABOUT THE WIN...
+ The Aggies moved to 2-0, and are now 12-0 all-time against Sam Houston State.
+ It was the eighth straight win for the Aggies, which is the longest winning streak since 1998 when they won 10 straight games after dropping the season-opener to Florida State in the Kickoff Classic.
+ The Aggies haven’t lost to a non-conference team from Texas since 1954.
+ With 65 points vs. Sam Houston State, Texas A&M has scored 50-plus points in the first two games of a season four times in its history: 2013, 1997, 1917 and 1912.
ABOUT THE OFFENSE...
+ A&M’s 714 total yards tied for fourth-most in school history.
MOST TOTAL OFFENSE IN A GAME
774 (76 plays) Louisiana-Lafayette, 1990
719 (73 plays) Baylor, 2003
716 (79 plays) Arkansas, 2012
714 (87 plays) Sam Houston State, 2013
714 (62 plays) SMU, 2005
705 (103 plays) TCU, 1986
702 (84 plays) Tulsa, 1985
+ The Aggies generated 38 first downs, which tied the school mark set against TCU in 1986.
+ The Aggies gained 714 total yards, marking their school-record 14th straight game with 400-plus yards.
+ The Aggies passed for 500 yards, setting a new school record. A&M’s previous best was 498 yards against Arkansas on September 29, 2012.
+ Sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel, in his 14th start of his career, riddled the Sam Houston State defense for 462 total yards (426 pass/36 rush), which was the fifth-best total offense game in school history. Manziel owns four of the top five efforts, including the top three (576 vs Louisiana Tech; 557 vs Arkansas; 516 vs Oklahoma).
+ Manziel’s 426-yard passing effort was the second of his career, and ranked No. 3 in school history. Manziel now owns two of the top three passing games in school history.
+ Manziel surpassed the 4,000-yard mark in career passing yards in his 15th game, which is the fastest in school history.
+ Manziel generated four TDS vs. the BearKats -- three passing and one via rush. His career TD responsibility stands at 54 (32 pass, 22 pass) in 15 games.
400-YARD PASSING GAMES
JOHNNY MANZIEL 453 vs. Arkansas, 2012
Ryan Tannehill 449 vs. Texas Tech, 2010
JOHNNY MANZIEL 426 vs. Sam Houston St., 2013
Jerrod Johnson 419 vs. Kansas State, 2008
Ryan Tannehill 415 vs. Baylor, 2011
Jerrod Johnson 409 at Oklahoma State, 2010
+ Mike Evans caught seven passes for a career-high 155 yards.
+ Evans has caught at least four passes in all 15 of his career games.
+ Evans moved into 15th place on A&M’s list for career receiving yards with 1,344.
+ Evans also moved into 15th place on A&M’s list for career receptions with 95.
+ Sophomore Tra Carson registered 51 rushing yards and two TDs on nine carries. It marked his second consecutive game with two rushing TDs.
NOTES & TRENDS
+ Taylor Bertolet forced touchbacks on nine of his 10 kickoffs on for the evening. For his career, he has registered a touchback on 78-of-121 kickoffs.
+ With their two INTs, the Aggies posted multiple interceptions in a game for the fifth time during the Sumlin era. They also had two INTs against Rice in the season opener.
+ Nate Askew returned an INT 30 yards for a touchdown. It marked his second career TD, the other coming on a pass reception in 2011. It marked A&M’s first interception return for a TD since Steven Jenkins’ 37-yard return at Ole Miss on Oct. 6, 2012.
+ The Aggies converted on 11-for-15 third down conversions, including 9-for-10 in the first half.
+ Sabian Holmes, Ja’Quay Williams, Brandon Williams and Travis Labhart all recorded their first career TD receptions.
+ Kenny Williams was 5-for-6 with 74 yards and one TD in his debut, including 2-for-2 for 52 yards and a TD pass on his first drive.
12TH MAN, POLO, GAME CAPTAINS
+ For the second straight game, sophomore defensive back Sam Moeller will be the 12th Man.
+ Wearing the #90 jersey in memory of fallen teammate Polo Manukainiu is junior defensive end Tyrell Taylor (normally wears #35). Manukainiu died in a tragic car accident last summer.
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 – College Station, Texas
Texas A&M vs. Sam Houston State
Selected Texas A&M Post-Game Quotes
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH KEVIN SUMLIN
On the offensive performance…
“Johnny was very efficient. I thought there was some maturity shown on the scrambles, the ability to throw the ball away, not take big losses and take care of the football. Last year he would have just slung it up the middle of the field. He threw one down the middle after we knew they had jumped offsides. I thought he operated the offense efficiently. The line was good and it was good to get Brandon Williams back. He’s got a little rust on his game but he knocked some of it off. He’s got some real explosiveness that can help us. We will get Trey Williams back this week. We held him last week because of an ankle. Tra Carson and Ben Malena have been very steady for us. We’ve got some playmakers around Johnny and he is utilizing everybody. You can’t take Mike Evans for granted, either. He’s a playmaker and he’s continued to improve. Offensively, there’s more to it than just Johnny.”
On the defensive performance…
“We had our moments. You look at about four big plays that weren’t good. You can’t do that. We will go back and watch the video and assess where we are. We’ve got some guys that can be corrected. We’ve got to continue to keep coaching. The addition this week of having Steven Jenkins will be good. Kirby Ennis told me at halftime that he was a little rusty. He said he was glad he was playing. To get those guys all back in the huddle will be a big deal. Everybody sees the difference. Deshazor Everett walked back out there today and he was very active. The experience and familiarity factors of those guys coming back will help our confidence as a defense and as a confidence for our coaches to be able to change some schemes and do some different things instead of being very vanilla, which we have been the last couple of weeks because of youth.”
On Mike Evans…
“I don’t know that he is “scratching the surface.” We’ve moved past that. I think he’s playing pretty good. He played very well last year and he’s continued to improve. He’s a playmaker. He’s a big, physical guy that plays as hard without the ball in his hands as he does when his number is called. Because of that, it’s really an example for the not just the receiving corps and the young guys that watch him play, but also an example to this football team the unselfishness he plays with. You’ve got guys like that on this team, Mike and Ben Malena offensively as well as on defense. Toney Hurd was all over the place on special teams. These guys do whatever it takes to help this team win.”
On Johnny Manziel’s performance…
“I’ve watched him practice. He probably should have taken off on the play where he crossed the line. That comes with the position. Everybody is going to be critical. I’m probably more critical of him, internally, than anybody. It’s part of his game. He’s getting more comfortable playing. I said last week that he was pressing. I think he saw some times today that he saw some questionable things happening after the play that he walked away from. That’s going to happen. We had that conversation last week about things happening on the field and people saying things to him and taking shots. That’s the way it is. Is that fair? Probably not, but that’s where we are. All in all, our team handled a lot of different situations. I’m pleased. There’s a lot of learning going on out there for everybody. You are in a better mood to teach, though, when you are winning.”
On LaQuvionte Gonzalez and Travis Labhart…
“LaQuvionte has got some real speed. He showed some on some speed sweeps. I thought he did a pretty good job on the kickoff return game. He’s getting better and more comfortable. Instead of just running at people, he’s looking to do some things. He’s got some homerun speed. He really played receiver in high school and that’s what he’s doing now. He’s got game-breaking touch speed and he’s a guy that‘s not very big. We have to utilize his speed because he can help us as a game-breaker. I thought Travis’ decision-making was pretty good back there. He’s back there as a punt returner because he has demonstrated for us to trust him deep. He made a couple nice catches during the game. He’s a guy who has worked like crazy and is a team favorite. Our team appreciate a guy like that who comes to work, wasn’t on scholarship and fought his way there. He is reaping the rewards of his hard work and helping us win. I talked a few weeks ago about the guys that we have put on scholarship since I have been here. I think it gives our walk-on program credibility. Guys who come here and do what we ask them to do get a chance to get on the field and perform. The guys that can help us win can earn a scholarship and Travis is one of those guys.”
SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK JOHNNY MANZIEL
On getting ready for Alabama…
“It feels like another game, feels like week three of the season. We have to continue to get better as a team, get better in every aspect: offense, defense, special teams. Having a full lineup and all of our guys back will be nice but for us we have to continue to get better like we did last year and see how things go."
On whether or not he’s hit full-stride with his play this season…
“Absolutely. Today it was a little wet, a little hard to throw the ball in the first half, so we were out there just making sure we were getting completions and slinging it like I have been through camp so hopefully we get some better weather these next few weeks so that we’ll be able to go out and throw the ball around.”
On what’s been the biggest help to him this month…
“The biggest thing that’s helped has just been being around these guys, being in this building, having my teammates, it makes it easy to block all this stuff out and grow with my teammates and build a bond with them. That’s what’s been the most helpful.”
SENIOR DEFENSIVE BACK TONEY HURD JR.
On how the secondary improved after the Rice game…
“I think our confidence level went up, the younger guys kind of now the pace and speed of the game now and they feel a little bit more comfortable each and every week. We have to get better with the younger guys and push it to the next level.”
On how important the defensive players returning are...
“They’re very important. They’re role-players for us. They’ll come in and make an immediate impact. We’ll be looking forward to them making big plays for us next weekend and helping the defense out to get this W.”
On where he thinks the defense could improve the most…
“With the guys we have coming back I think it will be a great improvement. So far we have a lot of guys playing with a lot more effort than we did last week, a lot more speed and a lot more confidence. Going into this week we just need to polish up our defense and we’ll be ready to play come September 14.”
SOPHOMORE WIDE RECEIVER MIKE EVANS
On being able to create options against Alabama…
“Just playing as hard as I can, just playing my game.”
On what his best catch of the game was…
“The bobble catch, but I was a little upset with myself because I didn’t get my depth on the route, but made a lucky catch and made up for it.”
On the anticipation of the Alabama game…
“Not at all, our next game is our biggest game. Alabama is number 1 in the country, and we realize that. We’re ready.”
On the effect of having Johnny for the entire game…
“Well, he’s the best player in the country and having him for two halves is great.”
SOPHOMORE OFFENSIVE LINEMAN MIKE MATTHEWS
On the running game…
“Yeah, having all three, they all are a different style of running back. Tra Carson, he’s downhill and will run you over. He’s just a hard worker, and he finds the hole. Brandon Williams, Slim, is what we call him, he’s really fast, so I believe it helps us out a whole lot with the running because we can switch them out, and they are all three great running backs. They help us get yards.“
On Tra Carson…
“He does a great job. He finds the hole, and he puts his head down and doesn’t look back. He’s willing to run someone over; he’s not scared, and he doesn’t try to make people miss. He tries to run them over and when it comes down to the short run, you need a guy like that. “
On taking it one game at a time…
“It’s hard when family and friends are like 2 more weeks and having to tell them you know we have Sam Houston first. So yes, we have been taking it one week at a time, but it has been hard these first 2 games when everyone has their eyes on Alabama, the big game. But for us we just had to get those first two down and now we are ready for them.”
SENIOR LINEBACKER NATE ASKEW
On his first career interception…
“It felt great. Coach had the perfect call. Great players around me made great plays. Darian Claiborne tipped the ball up and I saw it in the air. I went back to my receiver days and went for the end zone.”
On defensive improvements…
“We are improving everyday on defense. We got to practice just to improve and get better. After the first game we focused on minimizing mistakes. Today I think we went out there and got a little better. There’s always room for improvement. We are going to attack this week with an open mind and just want to grind for the next game. We have our next opponent in Alabama and we will be ready.”
On transition to linebacker from wide receiver…
“It’s been tough going from a receiver, which is a less-physical position. I had great guys around me to help me along the way and to mentor me. They were able to show me different things on the defensive side of the ball. I went in there and just attacked everything with an open mind. I went out there for my first game and it went okay. I just focused on being more physical the next week and I thought I did better.”
Selected Sam Houston State Post-Game Quotes
HEAD COACH WILLIE FRITZ
“A&M was very good. It was one of the best offenses I’ve ever seen. We could not stop them. We talked all week about staying over the top of them defensively and we didn’t do that. We didn’t tackle very well and part of that is on me. There is a reason why Manziel won the Heisman trophy. That’s a huge offensive line compared to last year. They were physical and knocked us off the ball. They are a very good ball club. They got after us especially in the second half. We saw some good things offensively and from the kicking team. A&M is a very well coached team with talented athletes. We’re going to watch the tape and see where we can improve. When you are playing a very talented team like this you have to bring you’re ‘A game’ and be physical.”
SENIOR QUARTERBACK BRIAN BELL
On what the team can take away from this game…
“We were in it towards the end of the game. Midway through the third quarter we were only down a couple touchdowns. We had a penalty and a turn over. When adversity strikes you have to find a way to hold the rope and cut the bleeding off and persevere and create more mojo for the offense.“
“We were very confident coming into the game. We felt like we could play with them and it slipped away toward the end of the game. We were competing the whole time.”
SENIOR RUNNING BACK TIMOTHY FLANDERS
On the team’s approach at halftime…
At halftime we knew we weren’t out of it; we knew we were getting the ball back. We wanted to go out there and strike fast. The score really didn’t tell how we played the whole game; we played pretty well for the most part except for a couple turnovers. Going up against an offense like that with a reigning Heisman winner, you have to get a lot of first downs.
SENIOR CORNER BACK BROOKIE SNEED
On containing the offense…
“You know Manziel is going to scramble around and make plays with his feet. Even though he only had 36 rushing yards he had about 500 passing yards, so that’s embarrassing. We should have done a better job defensively as far as containing him in coverage. We have to do a better job of getting off the field.”