Defense of Texas A&M Aggies will Cost Johnny Manziel Second Heisman Trophy

johnny manziel

Soobum Im – USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel made history in 2012 when he took the college football world by storm and won the Heisman Trophy. This season, he was hoping to do even more with the Texas A&M Aggies, up to and including an SEC title and BCS National Championship, while perhaps winning another Heisman Trophy for himself. After a second loss this season, this time at the hands of the Auburn Tigers, it doesn’t look like Manziel will accomplish any of that and he can blame his defense.

On Saturday, Johnny Football did his Johnny Football thing and made phenomenal plays through the air on the ground. He tore through the Auburn defense for 454 yards passing with four touchdowns while rushing for 48 yards and another score on the ground. It was another phenomenal performance for Manziel who came into the game ranked No. 4 in the country in total offense, capped by a late touchdown drive to rally the Aggies ahead of the Tigers with five minutes to play in the game.

But it wasn’t enough. As they have for most of the season, the Aggies’ defense was unable to stand up against the offensive assault. They came into the game Saturday dead last in the SEC in total defense, allowing 474.3 yards per game, and they kept that ineptitude going this weekend. Auburn racked up 615 yards of total offense, including 379 on the ground, and marched down the field for the g0-ahead touchdown with just over a minute to play in the game.

Manziel did his best to play the hero for A&M once again but came up short. Being forced to be Superman each and every week to overcome the play of his defense has forced Manziel to press more this season. Against Auburn, he threw interceptions six and seven of the 2013 season already after throwing only nine during his Heisman run last season. It’s easy to see that Manziel has taken the next step in his game, becoming a better passer in his second year as a starter. But he’s being asked to do too much because of his defense and it is showing.

Johnny Football has been playing manically this season to get A&M to the top of the SEC. But the Aggies have now lost twice this season because of an absolutely porous defense, ending their shot at the SEC title, a BCS title and probably Manziel’s chances to repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner.

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  • John

    It was pretty painful to watch. It’s amazing that the Aggie defense can be that bad. It’s a weird combination. The best offense in the country paired with literally the worse defense in the country. Take a mediocre defense from any school and trade it with the Aggies and they would easily be #1 and dominate the BCS bowl. I know that the Aggie defense is young, with nearly all of them being freshmen, but good grief, how can they be this bad? I tend to think it has to be a defensive coaching problem.

    • Tyler Brett

      Agree 100 percent. Manziel is playing better than he did last year (particularly in his passing accuracy) but is in constant “Superman mode” and pressing to make plays that aren’t there because he can’t trust his defense and is playing behind because of his defense. His game yesterday may have been his most impressive when you consider he could barely lift his throwing arm on the sideline.

  • dfwpike

    Excellent article, Tyler Brett. This ’88 graduate of A&M agrees with everything you said. A rarity for me.

    • Tyler Brett

      Much appreciated, thanks for the read!

  • qb

    No doubt with even an average defense A&M would be a top 5 team, it’s remarkable they are #14 given how horrible their defense has been. The distressing part is they seen to be getting worse instead of better.

    • Tyler Brett

      Something drastic has to happen for that defense to improve before next season. If Johnny Manziel does declare for the NFL draft and A&M rolls with this defense in 2014, they’ll be lucky to beat an FCS team.