Mississippi State vs. Texas A&M: 10 Things We Learned in Aggies' Win
The Texas A&M Aggies defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 51-41, during the final game before major renovations to Kyle Field.
Between his right arm and quick legs, Johnny Manziel lit up the Bulldogs for nearly 500 yards, and the Aggies improved to 8-2 on the season.
Four wideouts racked up at least 78 receiving yards, and Malcome Kennedy and Travis Labhart both hauled in two touchdowns.
Though Texas A&M performed well throughout the game, there were both great and less-than-stellar lessons learned in the battle against Mississippi State.
Johnny Manziel Continues to Create Ridiculous Plays
Johnny Manziel is the most electric player in all of college football.
Manziel performed his trademark spin move multiple times, throwing off Bulldogs defenders left and right.
He does an excellent job keeping his eyes downfield and finds open targets more often than not. Three of Manziel's five touchdowns came on plays where he scrambled away from pressure.
Whether or not you personally like him is one story, but Manziel has been a treat to watch while at Texas A&M.
But Manziel Must Improve His Decision-Making
Manziel made numerous insane plays, but each one of his three interceptions came immediately following a great show of individual skill.
For example, after spinning a Mississippi State defender into the ground, he threw behind his intended receiver, the ball was tipped and Love came up with his second interception of the day.
Additionally, Manziel must learn that throwing the ball away is a better option than taking a sack. Manziel was also pegged with an intentional grounding penalty although he had ample time to toss the ball out of bounds.
Manziel may be electric, but he can be uncontrollable at times, too.
Travis Labhart Set a Personal Record
Travis Labhart has only played wide receiver at Texas A&M for one season.
But as he's grown comfortable with Manziel, that's not stopping the senior wideout from making a big impact.
Labhart caught six passes for a career-high 102 yards and scored two touchdowns for the second consecutive week.
Not only is Labhart producing as a receiver, though, he is contributing as a blocker. Labhart opened up room on the sideline for Malcome Kennedy multiple times.
Labhart has been a diamond in the rough for the Aggies this year.
Mike Evans Set a School Record
Mike Evans has been one of the nation's top receivers over the past two seasons, and he set a Texas A&M record on Saturday.
With a 75-yard catch during the second half, Evans passed former teammate Ryan Swope's record of 1,207 receiving yards in 2011.
Through 10 games, Evans has 57 receptions for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Evans is a difficult matchup for all opponents, and he is proving it by putting up these huge numbers as a redshirt sophomore.
Malcome Kennedy Takes Advantage of Opportunities
Kennedy is not known around the nation like Evans, but Kennedy has been a No. 2 receiver.
While opposing secondaries are focused on Evans, Kennedy breaks into vacated spaces and makes catches.
Kennedy tied a career high with eight receptions, and he caught his sixth and seventh touchdowns of the season.
The junior wideout also finished the game with a season-high 96 yards.
The Wide Receivers Do an Excellent Job Getting Open
What Manziel does best is not a mystery; he extends plays.
But what is not given enough recognition, however, is the Aggies receivers' collective ability to come back to Manziel.
Labhart, Kennedy and even LaQuvionte Gonzalez took advantage of Manziel's scrambling prowess and caught wide-open passes.
Add that to Evans' "hey Johnny, throw it up and I'll catch it" attitude, Texas A&M's receivers are perfect for the non-systematic system of Manziel's elusiveness.
Texas A&M's Offense Responds...and Quickly
Mississippi State scored five touchdowns on Texas A&M's subpar defense, but Manziel and Co. make up for the team's defensive woes.
The Aggies answered one of those scores with a 38-second touchdown before halftime, another with a two-play, 32-second drive and one more with a three-play, 59-second possession that culminated in a touchdown.
Texas A&M lost the time of possession battle, 34:52 to 25:08, but ask Manziel how much that actually matters.
Special Teams Stepped Up
The Aggies offense was fantastic, and the Texas A&M defense struggled.
In related news, water is wet.
But the special teams unit was a bright spot for the Aggies on Saturday, too.
Drew Kaser blasted five punts for a 48.6-yard average, Sam Moeller blocked a Mississippi State punt for a safety and Julien Obioha blocked a field-goal attempt.
Additionally, Trey Williams returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown but was flagged for excessive celebration as he flipped into the end zone.
Kaser flipped the field on punts, the block teams kept points off the board and one return unit almost put points on the board. All-in-all, it was a good day for Texas A&M's special teams.
Texas A&M Earned the Program's 700th Win
Football is a team sport, and Texas A&M has put great teams on the field throughout its history.
The 2013 season is no different, and with the win over Mississippi State, the Aggies tallied the program's 700th win.
Though Texas A&M has never had a quarterback quite like Manziel, the Aggies' winning tradition is being carried on through its dynamic shot-caller.
Decision Day Is Nearing for Manziel, Evans and Sumlin
Many college football players dream of playing in the NFL, and the duo of Manziel and Evans are surefire draft picks.
Similarly, a coach's ultimate goal is calling the shots in the pros, and Kevin Sumlin is a leading candidate for head coach openings in the NFL.
Including postseason play, Texas A&M has three games remaining, but Saturday was the Aggies' final home contest of the season.
Was it the last time the A&M faithful will see the trio on the sideline? Or was the "one more year!" chant from the "12th Man" enough for Manziel, Evans and Sumlin to return?