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A&M Rallies Late to Stun Ole Miss, 30-27

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Johnny Manziel threw for 191 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 129 yards and another score, and Texas A&M rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Mississippi 30-27 Saturday night.

30 - 27
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium • Oxford, Mississippi
Attendance: 55,343 • Temperature: 55˚
Boxscore: HTML  |  PDF

1 2 3 4  
A&M   (4-1, 2-1) 7 10 0 13 30
Ole Miss   (3-3, 0-2) 10 7 3 7 27
 Stats at a Glance
First Downs 24 24
Rushes-Yards 44-290 44-159
Passing Yards 191 305
Passing A-C-I 26-17-2 35-20-2
Total Yards 481 464
Fumbles 4-4 0-0
Interceptions 2-43 2-4
Punts 1-36.0 4-45.8
3rd Downs 9-15 9-19
4th Downs 0-1 2-3
Sacks 1-6 4-40
TOP 26:40 33:20
 Individual Leaders
A&M - Ben Malena 18-142, TD
MISS - Jeff Scott 21-108, TD
A&M - Johnny Manziel 17-26, 191 yd, TD, 2 int
MISS - Bo Wallace 20-34, 305 yd, TD, 2 int
A&M - Mike Evans 8-105
MISS - Donte Moncrief 5-71, TD
A&M - Damontre Moore 8 tkl, 2 TFL, sack
MISS - Cody Prewitt 6 tkl, 2 FF, 1 INT

Manziel suffered through a tough night until late in the fourth quarter, when he led two touchdown drives. He rushed for a 29-yard touchdown on the first and then found Ryan Swope for a 20-yard TD pass with 1:46 remaining for the go-ahead score.

Texas A&M (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) won despite a season-high six turnovers, including four fumbles and two interceptions.

Ole Miss (3-3, 0-2) made a final drive but Texas A&M's Toney Hurd, Jr., intercepted a Bo Wallace pass and the Aggies were able to run out the clock.

The Rebels lost their 16th straight conference game dating back to 2010. Jeff Scott rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown. Wallace completed 20 of 34 passes for 305 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed for a touchdown.

Ole Miss had a 27-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter and Texas A&M pinned on its own 1-yard line with less than eight minutes remaining.

But Manziel connected on a 32-yard, third-down pass to Mike Evans to give the Aggies some breathing room. Then in just two plays, Texas A&M drove the rest of the field for a stunning touchdown. Ben Malena gashed the Rebels' defense for 36 yards before Manziel rushed for a 29-yard score - dancing past several Ole Miss would-be tacklers - to make it 27-23.

On the ensuing drive, first-year Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze made a questionable decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 in his own territory.

It turned out to be a disastrous call.

Scott was stuffed at the Ole Miss 39 and Texas A&M needed just four plays for Manziel to find Swope for the game-winning score.

Manziel completed 17 of 26 passes. Mike Evans caught eight passes for 105 yards.

Manziel - the 6-foot-1, 200-pound freshman with a penchant for highlight-reel plays - was coming off a breakout game against Arkansas that included 557 total yards and four touchdowns.

He looked much more mortal against the Rebels - at least for a while. There were a couple of huge plays, like his 38-yard scramble in the third quarter to push the Aggies deep into Ole Miss territory. But his risk-taking had a downside, too, like four plays later when he lost a fumble on the Ole Miss 21 to stop an almost certain scoring drive.

Manziel made another crucial mistake early in the fourth quarter, deftly avoiding the Ole Miss rush before making a bad pass over the middle that was intercepted by Cody Prewitt.

But the precocious quarterback wasn't fazed, and engineered the stunning comeback.

Texas A&M struck first on the opening drive after Malena burst through a huge hole and ran untouched 59 yards for a touchdown and 7-0 lead.

But the Ole Miss defense tightened considerably after that hiccup, while the offense improved as the first half progressed.

The Rebels took a 17-10 lead on a 14-yard run by Wallace - one play after he hit Randall Mackey on a 68-yard pass.

Then the Aggies fumbled on their own 35 - their third turnover of the half - and the Rebels had a chance to create some separation on the scoreboard.

But Ole Miss couldn't take advantage. Wallace was hit as he threw and the ball fell right to Texas A&M linebacker Steven Jenkins, who ran for the easy 37-yard touchdown that tied the game at 17 going into halftime.

Post-Game Notes

about the win

+  It was Texas A&M's second SEC victory and the Aggies' first-ever road SEC victory.

+  The Aggies rallied from 10 points down with 6:28 remaining in the fourth quarter for a 30-27 road victory.

+  It was the eighth straight road victory by a Kevin Sumlin-coached team. The last loss for Sumlin on the road came in the season finale of 2010 vs. Texas Tech in Lubbock.

about the comeback

+  It was Texas A&M's largest fourth quarter comeback since rallying from 14 down in the final stanza to beat FIU in 2010. FIU entered the fourth quarter with a 20-6 lead over the Aggies at Kyle Field.


+  The Aggies' six turnovers were the most since A&M had six turnovers in a 62-14 loss to Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., in 2009.

+  A&M hasn't been victorious in a game with six turnovers since at least prior to the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

+  Junior RB Ben Malena's 59-yard TD run early in the first quarter was a season-long rush for the Aggies, and Malena's career long effort.

+  Malena had his career-best rushing game with 142 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. His previous high rushing game was an 88-yard game earlier this season against South Carolina State.

+  Also reaching a career high in rushing was redshirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel, who gained 129 yards on 20 carries.

+  It was the first time since last year's Iowa State game that the Aggies have had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game. Against the Cyclones, Christine Michael gained 142 and Cyrus Gray added 125.

+  Hitting the 100-yard level in receiving for the second time this year was redshirt freshman Mike Evans, who gained 105 yards on a career-high eight catches. Evans had his career-high of 123 receiving yards (on six catches) against SMU.

+  A&M rushed for a season-high 290 yards on 44 carries against Ole Miss. The previous best was 265 on 39 carries against South Carolina State.

+  First punt of the game for the Aggies came with 4:08 remaining in second quarter. It was downed on the Ole Miss 16 for senior Ryan Epperson's ninth "coffin corner" boot of the season. It was Epperson's only punt of the game.

+  After having just one turnover in the first four games of the season, A&M had three giveaways in the first half against Ole Miss -- two lost fumbles and an interception. A&M finished with six turnovers.

Snyder's Defense has nose for endzone

The Aggie defense scored a touchdown for the third straight game when junior LB Steven Jenkins grabbed a deflected pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdowns. Senior LB Sean Porter hit Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace as he was attempting a pass to cause the errant pass.

Other defensive scores this season include sophomore DB Deshazor Everett's pick-six INT against South Carolina State and junior CB Tramain Jacobs' fumble return against Arkansas.

The last time A&M had three defensive scores in a season was 2001 when the Aggies had two fumble returns and an INT return for TDs.

Adding in Dustin Harris' punt return TD from South Carolina State, the Aggies have four returns for scores this season, which is the most since 2001 when they had five.

Captains, 12th Man

+  Game captains for the Aggies were: senior center Patrick Lewis, senior safety Steven Terrell, senior linebacker Sean Porter and senior punter Ryan Epperson. Ole Miss won the toss and deferred to the second half. A&M received and defended the south goal.

+             Making his second straight start at 12th Man was defensive back C.J. Jones, a senior from Klein Forest HS in Houston. A veteran 12th Man, it was Jones' 14 career starting assignment.

Post-Game Quotes

Texas A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin
On turnaround of game...
"We've been through it a few times. The big thing is it's not if our coaches have been in this situation, it's the players. For them to not quit, and continue to play, was huge. For a team to have us down like that, it was huge to respond the way we did. For our football team to respond the way they did on the road in an SEC game, it was a huge thing for our team. Give Ole Miss a lot of credit. They did a great job. There was a lot of energy in this building and they came ready to play. For us to get out with a
victory is huge. It's going to help us down the road in tight situations."

On how pleased he was with how his team responded...
"We have a lot of young guys that hadn't been in that type of situation. There wasn't a lot of heads hanging. We have a lot of good leadership. In those conditions, the way we were, I can't be happier than I am right now for the guys."

On if his heart skipped a beat when Texas A&M was waiting on a response to see if (Johnny) Manziel's play was a safety or not...
"You never know. Whatever the official says when they buzz it, is one thing. But when it's challenged, that's another deal. We had a couple plays that we wanted to challenge in the first half, but because of the lack of timeouts we had, I chose not to challenge them. Fortunately, we had all three timeouts in the end. We didn't need them, but they were there if we needed them. The officials do a really good job upstairs. If they have time, they review every play anyway, and the likelihood of the play being overturned is not very good."

On if did Johnny Manziel ever hung his head...
"No, we've been around him long enough to see that he never really hangs his head. And at this level, every situation that he's in is new. Has gone on the road and gone four weeks without giving the ball to the other team. He was pressing a little bit. We talked to him and told him that he has 10 other guys on the team that can help him make plays and help us win games. The more he plays, the more he'll understand that. He made plays to help us also. We've been really good with ball security up until
tonight. That's something that we're going to have to go back and look at as a team."

LB Jonathan Stewart
On the defense...
"The whole game, we were fighting. They were turning over the ball, but, defensively, we didn't care. Regardless of how many times the offense turns the ball over, if we go out there and stop the other team, turnovers will be insignificant."

On fourth down stop...
"It was huge. I thought the spot was a little questionable, but so be it. We thought there was going to be a quarterback sneak, but they ended up not doing it, and we just had to go out there and make a play. It was a crucial part, we knew that. If we didn't, we were out of tim outs, and they were one play away from running the clock out. We made plays when we had to. We didn't play the best game we could have played, at all. We have a lot to learn, but it's a lot better to learn things after a win
than after a loss."

LB Sean Porter
On the win...
"That was crazy, it was probably one of the best wins of my career. I love these guys. It was a great win, a great comeback."

On Jenkins' interception in the first half...
"Jenkins made a great play. The ball was tipped, the quarterback got hit. The ball went up in the air, and he made a pick and went to the house with it. As linebackers, in our room we always talk about who's going to get the first pick, the first touchdown, and he got both of them. Jenkins is a pretty good player, and that's a good thing for him."



Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze
Opening statement...
"Obviously I'm very disappointed. The kids are hurting. The coaches are hurting. It's a game we easily
could have won. We've been looking at a lot of different things. We got into the 4th quarter with a very
good football team. We had a chance to win it and put it away, but we didn't get a few breaks and we
didn't make a few plays. We made some tough decisions, and I just hate that our kids are hurting so bad when we had a great chance to win the football game."

On fourth quarter holding call...
"I thought we had it put away. They weren't stopping us. That holding call really killed us. The
backbreaker was them going 99 yards in three plays. Denzel (Nkemdiche) is a talented kid, and it was
tough tonight. I thought we made enough plays to win the game. We had another opportunity in the
fourth (quarter). It was maybe an inch. It looked like if they would have rolled the ball it would have touched the chain. I think that call should have been reviewed, but it is what it is. We could have made an inch and probably put it away, but we didn't.

"We haven't won an SEC game in however long it's been, but I was just going for it. Period. Everybody
can sit back and second guess, but I was giving our kids what I thought was the best chance to win the
game. Obviously I wish I would have called something different now, but we would go for it again.

"I definitely felt the momentum shifting. I can't say that I felt like any of our guys had any less fight in
them. We had a chance. We had a good blitz call and it came free, but we missed it.

"I thought that a lot could have been called tonight if they had wanted to, and I hate that it was called
right then."

On staying focused and preparing for Auburn...
"We'll get them motivated. I know they're hurting, and we all won't sleep tonight. I know it's
disappointing. You pour your heart and soul into this. The kids have. They've done what we've asked
them to do, and the coaches do. You'll stay up all night and think of everything that you could have done different to affect the outcome, but tomorrow we'll come back and we'll get past it and move on to

Ole Miss Players

Safety Cody Prewitt
"We knew it was going to be a fight so we tried to take the fight to them. Without a few mistakes I feel
like we would have come out on top in this one."

On A&M QB Johnny Manziel...
"We watched film on him and knew he was going to be an athlete. We can't take anything away from
him, he was a good athlete. There were a few mistakes that would've changed the outcome of this game if we would have kept our eyes on him."

On what Coach Freeze said...
"He was proud of our effort and so was everybody else. Things are going to turn around for us."

On SEC...
"We are definitely not the team we were last year. Anybody that we play will be in for a fight."

Quarterback Bo Wallace
On Touchdown Pass...
"It was a great play-call. Donte' worked his guy and got open. He just made a great catch."

On touchdown run...
"It was a read option and the line did a great job of blocking for me."

On first interception...
"I was trying to hit my check down and it slipped out of my hands and fell right into the defensive
lineman's hands."

On last drive...
"I never saw the guy, I was just trying to get the ball out quick."

On the Texas A&M defense...
"They were good. Whenever we hurt ourselves we just shot ourselves in the foot, but this offense is
definitely rolling."



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