Sunday, November 11, 2012

Manziel, Aggies topple top-ranked Tide

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel accounted for 345 yards and two touchdowns, as the Aggies shocked the college football world with a 29-24 victory over Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

In a game that Alabama never led, the Aggies jumped out to a quick 20-0 lead, and the Crimson Tide found themselves relegated to playing catch-up the rest of the way.

Manziel kept the Tide defense guessing at every turn, and used his legs, and wide receiver Ryan Swope, to torment the defense much of the afternoon. For the game, the aforementioned Swope was on the receiving end of 11 Manziel passes for 111 yards and one touchdown.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who had yet to be intercepted in 2012, threw two picks against the Aggies, both of which came at critical times in the game.

While the initial stages of the contest were dominated by the Aggies, the second half was a rollercoaster of emotion for everyone involved. The drama reached a climax when Alabama, trailing 29-24 in the final minutes of the game, garnered a first-and-goal at the Texas A&M six-yard line courtesy of an AJ McCarron 54-yard pass to Kenny Bell. The four plays that followed proved to be heartbreaking for the Tide, and monumental for the Aggies.

In a sequence that could be analyzed for days, the Crimson Tide, by many accounts, ran a series of inexplicable plays. With only six yards to go and four possible downs to achieve those six yards, Alabama only ran one designed run play. Following a scramble by McCarron, which set-up fourth-and-goal from the two, McCarron was subsequently intercepted at the goal line, to effectively end the game.

With arguably the best offensive line in the nation, and two of the most talented running backs in the league, the Tide became “pass happy” in an effort to get six yards, with four downs allotted.

While Alabama will most certainly fall in the standings, the Crimson Tide, now 9-1 overall, and 6-1 in the SEC, can clinch the SEC Western Division with a victory over Auburn. If victorious, the Tide will play for the SEC title for the first time since 2009, and will do so against the Georgia Bulldogs.

In respect to the national title, hope is small, but hope is not lost. Sounds like 2011, eh?

Physical and mental healing is paramount for Alabama. While so much is left to play for, so much could also be lost without taking the necessary measures.

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