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Column: All work, some play

Manziel's PAT was mid-season fun

Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012

Updated: Sunday, November 18, 2012 22:11

Football vs SHSU column photo

Roger Zhang -- THE BATTALION

Uzoma Nwachukwu breaks free for an 89-yard touchdown against Sam Houston State.

It has been a long and grueling season for the Texas A&M Aggies, who have not had a week off since Hurricane Isaac postponed the season opener against Louisiana Tech. Eleven straight weeks of physical, hard-nosed SEC football.

While Sam Houston State could have been overlooked since they come from the Football Championship Subdivision, head coach Kevin Sumlin was not going to let his team have that mentality.

The Aggie offense started off stagnant but the energy level and, more importantly, the focus remained intact.

The fact that this team is hitting its stride over a stretch that could have tired it out speaks volumes to the work the coaching staff has done to keep the players fresh. Sumlin has kept in focus one aspect that can get lost in the transition of the football ranks: the need to go out and have some fun.

The Aggies took care of business against the Bearkats early, opening a 47-0 lead. Manziel became the fifth player and the first freshman in NCAA history to have 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing.

Just a typical first half for Johnny Football: breaking records, making highlight plays, and dominating the game like the Heisman candidate that he is.

Early in the second half, Johnny connected with Uzoma Nwachkwu for an 89 yard touchdown pass. As the Aggies took the field to kick the extra point, kicker Taylor Bertolet was still on the sidelines. Instead, Johnny Football stayed on the field as the crowd began to process what was happening. It was then that Sumlin opened up a window into what goes on behind the scenes

Manziel lined up behind holder Ryan Epperson and targeted the goal posts. While he didn’t make it, the play showed that Sumlin was not trying to patronize the Bearkats, or that Bertolet is not his extra point kicker anymore, but that this team needs to have a laughing moment so everyone in the crowd and on the field can enjoy the game of football.

We finally learned that Johnny Football can’t do everything: he can’t kick an extra point.

In the post-game press conference, Sumlin shed light on the fact that Manziel has made kicks in practice and thought that it would be a good time to unleash Johnny Fútbol.

The Aggies were able to get their second team defense some reps that will pay dividends when they become upperclassmen. While the Bearkats scored 28 unanswered points, the game had been decided by that point.

Was this just another Aggie victory?

Think about the implications of the game. The Aggies stayed in the win column, kept their season goals in check and won a game on a Saturday that upsets hit Oregon and Kansas State.

It was a Saturday that saw Heisman front-runners Collin Klein and Marcus Mariota lose their grip on the coveted award.

Finally, this was a Saturday where Coach Sumlin allowed his boys to go out, take care of business and have some fun. In the coaching business, where perfection and what-have-you-done-for-me-now mentalities take over programs, Sumlin and his staff have kept the fundamental aspects of the game relevant to the players.

Just ask Johnny Fútbol. His ascension to a legitimate Heisman front-runner came on the day he kicked the ball just a little wide right.

 

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