Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (2) reaches the end zone for a touchdown as Oklahoma's Frank Shannon (20) and others give chase in the first half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Friday, January 04, 2013 11:15 pm
Manziel, Texas A&M lead after 3 quarters at Cotton
By STEPHEN HAWKINSAP Sports Writer
Playing his first game since becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman after an SEC-record 4,600 total yards in the regular season, the 20-year-old Manziel had more highlight plays in his first bowl game. He already had 243 yards passing and 176 more rushing.
Oklahoma, led by quarterback Landry Jones in his 50th career start, had only 312 total yards as a team.
Manziel tiptoed along the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown on the Aggies' opening drive of the game, setting a school record with his 20th rushing TD. He became only the fourth FBS quarterback with 20 touchdowns passing and 20 more rushing in the same season.
The Aggies took control of the game, extending its one-point halftime lead with touchdowns on its first three drives of the third quarter, including Manziel's 33-yard TD pass to Ryan Swope on a fourth-and-5 play.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, went three-and-out on its first drives after halftime.
There were chants of "S-E-C!, S-E-C!" after Manziel dumped a short pass over the middle to Swope, who shed a defender and ran into the end zone for a 34-13 lead with 4 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Aggies, with first-year coach Kevin Sumlin and their young star quarterback, are wrapping up their first SEC season after leaving the Big 12. The Cotton Bowl is the only postseason game matching teams from those power conferences.
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 in bounds.
Oklahoma needed drives of 16 and 18 plays to get a pair of field goals by Michael Hunnicutt (23 and 24 yards). Jones threw a 6-yard TD pass to Justin Brown just before halftime.
Jones' final career start came at the same place he made his Oklahoma debut in the 2009 season opener when he replaced injured Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford.
After setting Cotton Bowl records when he had 23 completions and 30 attempts (for 175 yards) by halftime, Jones was 29 of 39 for 221 yards after three quarters.
The teams traded interceptions in the second quarter.
Manziel was picked off in the end zone after his bootleg move and a throw that hit Malcome Kennedy in the hands and deflected into the air. Javon Harris grabbed the interception.
The Sooners then crossed midfield before Jones had a pass intercepted by Dustin Harris and returned to the Oklahoma 48.
That A&M drive started with a little trickery, Manziel holding the ball down in his left hand while faking a throw with his right hand. He then pitched to Kenric McNeal, who threw a 20-yard pass to Mike Evans.
Ben Malena then had a 23-yard run before Manziel's bootleg run for a 5-yard TD.
Oklahoma is in the Cotton Bowl for only the second time.
This is the first bowl matchup between the former Big 12 rivals, but the 17th consecutive season they have played each other.
The Sooners have won 11 of 13 since Bob Stoops became their coach.
Sumlin was the A&M offensive coordinator in 2002 when the Aggies upset the top-ranked Sooners. The next year, Sumlin was hired by Stoops as an assistant, and he stayed there five seasons before going to Houston as head coach and then the Aggies.