A&M dominates Vanderbilt, 56-24
Published: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 27, 2013 12:10
For the first time all season in league play, both components of Texas A&M's system — offensively and defensively — synchronized as the sixteenth-ranked Aggies crushed Southeastern Conference visitor Vanderbilt 56-24 Saturday at Kyle Field.
After suffering a shoulder injury last week that threatened to sideline him, sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel jumped back in the saddle with a quick start against the Commodores, going 10-of-10 for 70 yards and a touchdown in the game's opening drive and 25-of-35 for 305 yards and four scores on the game.
"I felt really good," Manziel said. "I felt good enough to go out there and help the team win. [The shoulder injury] would have taken me a lot more to keep me off the field and out of the game. It was pretty consistent throughout the day and never gave me any problems."
The Aggie receiving corps continued to impress, with junior Malcome Kennedy leading the group with eight catches for 83 yards and no scores. Sophomore Mike Evans found the endzone twice on his five catches for 77 yards, including a 43 yard hook-up from Manziel that helped A&M to a 28-0 opener against Vanderbilt.
As for the A&M defense, the unit was able to generate season-bests in multiple categories, holding Vanderbilt to just 329 total yards (A&M season-low) while adding seven sacks (seven sacks combined in previous seven games) and a season-high 12 tackles for loss.
Additionally, the Aggies forced three turnovers, all interceptions, against the Commodores, helping the offense recover from the five it gave up during the game.
Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder spoke to the strengths of his defense's play, but said he was most impressed by how the unit gelled with the 12th Man, drawing off the energy to create stops.
"What was most impressive to me today was that our kids finally started playing to the crowd," Snyder said. "We've got great fans. Last week, the crowd got kind of loud and everybody was just out there, 'Okay.' Today, they were feeding off of that, they were encouraging that. I looked out there, and no different than last week our crowd was going crazy, and I see our kids start to get into the groove. That's a good thing. That's mojo you can't put a price tag on."
Looking forward, defensive end Julien Obioha said the unit can use Vanderbilt as a standard to play off of in the team's final five games.
"We needed an example to show us how we should play," Obioha said. "Right now, we can always go back to the Vandy tape to show us. This is the type of production we expect from the defense. It was good to have a game like this."