That's the name Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will see in their nightmares from now until next season after the signal-caller led No. 15 Texas A&M past No. 1 Alabama 29-24. Not only did it give Texas A&M its biggest win of the year, but it almost certainly dashed Alabama's BCS dreams.
Alabama tried to get itself back in the game with a late touchdown to Amari Cooper, but A.J. McCarron's late interception on 4th-and-goal ended the game with just over a minute to play. Alabama almost got the ball back one last time, but a neutral-zone infraction gave Texas A&M the game-clinching first down.
McCarron wasn't terrible overall, but his two interceptions were critical in the loss. He went 21-of-34 for 309 yards overall.
It was all Aggies early on. Christine Michael started the game's scoring with a one-yard blast into the end zone, giving the Aggies a 7-0 lead. Johnny Manziel then hit Ryan Swope for a 10-yard touchdown toss, followed by another Michael touchdown run. Taylor Bertolet missed the extra point on the last score, though.
Jumping out to a 20-0 lead on this daunting Crimson Tide team was a feat all by itself, but Nick Saban's group was able to adjust before things got too far out of hand.
T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy each had two-yard rushing scores in the second quarter to put Alabama behind 20-14 at the end of the first half. It wasn't ideal, especially at home, but Alabama ended the half much stronger than it started it.
The second half was much slower, with each defense digging in and pinning its ears back.
Jeremy Shelley's field goal was the only scoring play in the third quarter, putting Alabama behind 20-17 entering the final frame. Bertolet made up for his earlier miss less than one minute into the fourth, pushing A&M's favorable margin back to 23-17.
Manziel's touchdown to Malcome Kennedy put A&M up 12, giving them enough comfort to hold on despite a late comeback attempt from McCarron.
As every upset does, this game had a few huge plays. Swope's reception with 11:30 left in the fourth quarter, combined with the 15-yard personal foul that was tacked onto it, made a tremendous difference. Not only was it on 3rd-and-9, but Swope showed amazing courage to hang in and make the grab.
This is sure to go down as one of the year's best games. Not only was it a massive upset, but it was a coming-out party for one of the country's most talented players.
Let's recap this one further with some Twitter reaction and analysis.
CBS' Bruce Feldman had this to say following Michael's touchdown to start the game:
Man, young Johnny Manziel sure can scoot. And, as Verne points out, A&M scores first for the TENTH time this season.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) November 10, 2012
USA Today's Paul Myerberg dropped this tidbit once the Aggies took a 20-0 lead in the first half:
Quick glance: Alabama hasn't trailed by 20+ pts at home since LSU in 2003 (27-3 L). Shula's 1st year.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) November 10, 2012
Feldman contributes here again, this time taking note of Texas A&M's third-down success. Without a doubt, it was the story of the first half:
Bama was holding opponents to 29% on 3rd downs till Johnny Maziel and the Aggies showed up. A&M is 7-7 today.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) November 10, 2012
At the risk of being repetitive, I have to go to Feldman one more time. The man is on fire:
Johnny Manziel's scrambling is so eye-catching, you almost overlook that he's 21-22 passing today on road at nation's #1 D.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) November 10, 2012
How about this for some perspective? Pac-12 Digital reporter Bryan Fischer showed just how well Manziel played on Saturday:
Johnny Football has more total yards against Alabama than Cam Newton did in 2010.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 10, 2012
ESPN's Travis Haney pointed to one of Alabama's key issues in this one:
A&M had 8 takeaways all year. 2 today from Bama.— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) November 10, 2012
This could be a few things, but Texas A&M's ability to convert on third down was the major difference. Going 11-of-18 on this defense is ridiculous, especially as the pressure in the game continued to mount.
The Aggies simply had all the answers. Whether it was a big play from Manziel to Swope, a key takeaway or any other big play you can think of, Texas A&M had the answer. Walking into Tuscaloosa and pulling off an upset like this is truly remarkable.
Coming ready to play is one thing. Playing like this against the Crimson Tide is another. The Aggies executed and showed the right emotions at all the right times.
Player of the Game: Johnny Manziel
Could it be anyone else? Manziel went 24-of-31 through the air for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 92 yards, constantly keeping Alabama's defense on its heels.
Watching this kid play is remarkable. He's turned the SEC on its head, consistently playing like the best player in the nation's most rigorous conference. When you realize that he's only a redshirt freshman, he becomes even scarier.
Manziel made himself known to the college football world prior to this game, but this was a complete and utter statement. There's no reason to consider Manziel anything but a Heisman Trophy contender.
Texas A&M will play Sam Houston State next week, while Alabama attempts to rebound against Western Carolina.
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