No. 1 Alabama held off Texas A&M in College Station Saturday afternoon, 49-42. Johnny Manziel threw for five touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as the Alabama offense matched him score for score and came out on top. It was the most-watched regular-season college football game since 2006 and was the rare GAME OF THE CENTURY that met its hype.
Here's the official highlight video from the SEC:
The Aggies started things out on the right track, as Johnny Manziel found Cameron Clear in the end zone on a one-yard touchdown after a nearly-busted play-action fake.
All GIFs via CBS
Manziel drove the Aggies down the field again for a second touchdown, making it 14-0. Alabama responded quickly, with a beautiful 22-yard strike from A.J. McCarron to Kevin Norwood.
A&M had a bit of a derp moment on the return game, as Brandon Williams attempted to pick up a bouncing ball and did not succeed at all.
The Manziel train seemed unstoppable at points -- the quarterback threw for five touchdowns and couldn't stop himself from running into a member of the security team on the sidelines.
Alabama tied the game up early in the second quarter with an audacious bit of play-calling, as McCarron found DeAndrew White for the 44-yard score on a flea flicker.
Then, Johnny Football unveiled a little Johnny Magic, with an improbably stupid play that happened to work (as stupid plays tend to do for Heisman winners).
The drive ended on an interception in the end zone, and the Tide took their first lead of the game as Kenny Bell outran everyone on a 51-yard screen pass touchdown. It was a lead they would never give up.
The NCAA's targeting rules came under scrutiny again, when defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made a play for the ball and was ejected after incidental contact. The play was reviewed and the ejection was overturned, but the penalty stood.
Here is the play from another angle, where you can see Clinton-Dix touch the ball first.
T.J. Yeldon put a little bit of space between the Tide and the Aggies right before the half with a four-yard touchdown run, and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the money fingers/double throat slash deadly combo.
Never to be outdone in the realm of showmanship, Manziel responded with Colin Kaepernick's famed "can't kiss my bicep with my facemask on" celebration.
Things really took a turn for the worse for Manziel and the Aggies after an early third-quarter pass was tipped and intercepted by Vinnie Sunseri, who returned it for a 73-yard touchdown and a 35-14 lead.
Manziel, reportedly recruited by some as a safety, displayed less-than-stellar tackling skills on the return attempt.
Between the interception, tackle attempt and whatever this is, it seems Johnny Football's hand-eye coordination was a bit...off.
After a Manziel touchdown pass brought the game within 14, the A&M defense forced a key fumble from T.J. Yeldon, giving the Aggie faithful some extra hope.
That paid instant dividends, as Manziel found Mike Evans down the right sideline for a 95-yard score, bringing the Aggies within seven. Evans caught seven passes for 279 yards and a score on the day.
Johnny Football was pleased.
Alabama would score on its next drive, cutting the Aggie comeback short. Be sure to check in with Roll 'Bama Roll and Good Bull Hunting for more on the game.
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