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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Johnny Manziel leads upset over No. 1 Alabama, grabs pole position in Heisman race

A freshman has never won the Heisman Trophy. At this point in the 2012 season, after what happened Saturday, the award might be Johnny Manziel's to lose.

There are many good candidates for the award, but only one has great numbers and can claim he made Alabama's defense look awful while knocking off the No. 1 team in college football.
Manziel has become a household name as a freshman for Texas A&M, but he went to another level in the nation's consciousness with a 29-24 win that will shake up the national championship race.
Alabama's defense showed some cracks in the second half last week against LSU, but it's still a unit that hadn't given up more than 17 points in a game this season. The Crimson Tide proved no match for Manziel though.
Manziel did the same things he has against lesser competition all season. When he ran, he darted around defenders who couldn't wrangle him. And against a great secondary, he made deadly accurate throws all afternoon. He threw only one incompletion in the first half on 16 attempts. Even when he bobbled a ball during a play in the first half, he just regained his composure and threw a touchdown.
Manziel kept his composure when Alabama was making a run in the fourth quarter, delivering incredible passes to keep Texas A&M in front. He hit a great pass over the middle to Ryan Swope on a crucial third and long. Then, the man known endearingly as Johnny Football found Swope on a perfectly thrown wheel route. And Texas A&M's last touchdown came on a soft touch pass over the defense to Malcome Kennedy for a 24-yard score.
Manziel had the kind of game people will talk about years from now. He was a redshirt freshman playing the No. 1 team on the road, and instead of looking nervous, he dominated.
"No moment is too big for him," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said after the game. "He gives our players a sense that we can score from anywhere."
Manziel completed 24 of 31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama, and now he has 2,780 yards and 18 passing touchdowns this season. He finished 92 rushing yards on 18 carries, pushing him over 1,000 yards for the season.
Many Heisman Trophy winners have their one "Heisman moment." On Saturday, Manziel had three-and-a-half hours worth of them.

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