A Defiant, Chip-on-the-Shoulder Johnny Manziel Is a Dangerous Johnny Manziel

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterAugust 31, 2013

He came, he saw, he autographed air, he flashed the money sign, he pointed at the scoreboard, he conquered.

Conquered the NCAA, conquered the offseason and conquered the Rice Owls.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was up to his old tricks on Saturday afternoon, completing six of his eight passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns in the second half in the No. 7 Aggies' 52-31 win over Rice. But it wasn't his performance versus the Owls that made waves.

It was his celebrations.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner flashed the money sign after his first touchdown pass and signed an autograph in the air to what looked to be a trash-talking Rice defender earlier in the drive.

Early in the fourth quarter, following a nine-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans, he handled another vocal Owl with the most Manziel move ever: He pointed at the scoreboard, which, at the time, read "Texas A&M 51 - Rice 28."

He's trolling you, he's trolling me, he's trolling everyone.

And it's awesome.

It was clear from Manziel's first appearance of the 2013 season that he has a chip on his shoulder, and that should scare every defensive coordinator in the SEC. An angry Manziel showed he's out to prove his doubters wrong, which makes him even more dangerous than he was in 2012—when he hoisted the Heisman and set the SEC total offense record with 5,116 yards.

He did that when he was the new kid on the block, long before the target was placed squarely on his back. Now that it's a permanent fixture there, Manziel doesn't seem to care.

With a Heisman on his shelf and an 11-win season under his belt, the only motivation he needed was the one thing that eluded him and what has eluded Texas A&M since 1939: a national championship.

Now it's personal, though.

He wants to succeed personally in spite of the doubters, and that was apparent in his actions on the field on Saturday.

Manziel answered the questions about his focus, looking like his old self versus Rice and connecting on several passes on the run, while also rushing for 19 yards and staying in firm control of the offense.

Alabama vs. Texas A&M in Week 3 has never been bigger. Not only is Manziel up to his old tricks on the field, but he's angry.

Have fun with that, Nick Saban.