COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Johnny Football can throw and run with ease. But the exceptional skills of Texas A&M’s star don’t extend to kicking.
Johnny Manziel threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 100 yards and two more scores and No. 9 Texas A&M beat Sam Houston State 47-28 Saturday.
The redshirt freshman with the cool nickname threw an 89-yard touchdown pass to Uzoma Nwachukwu on A&M’s first offensive play of the second half.
The dual-threat quarterback then attempted the extra point, but it sailed wide right, ending the Heisman hopeful’s day with A&M (9-2) leading 40-0.
Coach Kevin Sumlin got a good chuckle when asked if he might lose Heisman votes for the missed kick.
“I don’t know,” he said laughing. “I don’t know that it will cost him anything.”
But it did cause his teammates to tease him a bit.
“Come on Johnny, you’re better than that,” Nwachukwu said he told Manziel.
Sumlin said Manziel had been practicing kicks for a couple of weeks and made some in practice. He decided to let him kick to break up the monotony of the season, and “keep it fun.”
Manziel broke the NCAA freshman quarterback rushing record of 1,029 yards set by Missouri’s Brad Smith in 2002, and the freshman record for total offense of 3,827 yards set in 2000 by Jared Lorenzen on A&M’s first drive.
He also became the fifth player and first freshman in FBS history to pass for at least 3,000 yards with at least 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
His 4,161 yards are a school record for total offense in a season.
Sumlin said he didn’t know if Manziel was the best player in the country, but raved about his star.
“I know that he’s playing very, very well and he’s been a catalyst for us,” Sumlin said. “Certainly his numbers speak for himself, not just for this year but throughout football history. From a numbers standpoint, it’s hard to argue that he’s not one of the best players in the country right now.”
A week after their stunning upset of top-ranked Alabama, the Aggies (9-2) led by seven after one, and used a 27-point second quarter to build a big lead over last year’s Championship Subdivision runner-up.
Sam Houston State (8-3), which has already clinched a share of the Southland Conference title this year, had a seven-game winning streak snapped with the loss.
It’s their last regular-season game before they return to the playoffs next week.
“I did a poor job of preparing our guys,” Sam Houston coach Willie Fritz said. “They showed us why they’re a top-10 team in the country. That’s why they beat Alabama.”
Manziel got Texas A&M going when he found Mike Evans on a 7-yard pass on the first drive to make it 7-0.
The Aggies had to punt on their next two possessions before the offense started rolling again. Manziel hooked up with Evans again, this time on a 10-yard pass, to push the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Manziel had a 22-yard run and the Aggies got 13 extra yards at the end of it after a personal foul penalty on Darnell Taylor earlier in that drive.
Running back Christine Michael was ejected at the end of the play where Evans scored his second touchdown. Michael, a senior, and some Sam Houston players were pushing each other before Michael threw a punch.
Daxton Swanson intercepted Manziel later in the second quarter. It was Manziel’s first interception since Oct. 20 against LSU, and gave Swanson a school-record-tying 13 for his career.
The Bearkats couldn’t take advantage of the miscue, and Bell was intercepted by A&M’s Donnie Baggs three plays later.
Manziel used his feet on the next score, dashing in from 4 yards. Taylor Bertolet missed the extra point to leave the score at 20-0.
Nwachukwu had a 40-yard catch to start Texas A&M’s next drive, and Trey Williams extended the lead to 27-0 with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Linebacker Sean Porter forced a fumble and recovered it on Sam Houston State’s first play after Williams’ touchdown. Nwachukwu, who finished with 160 yards receiving, had a 19-yard catch-and-run before Manziel hopped into the end zone untouched on a 1-yard run to make it 34-0 at halftime.
Backup Jameill Showers connected with LeKendrick Williams for an 80-yard touchdown pass on his first play after Manziel left the game to extend the lead to 47-0 early in the third.
Timothy Flanders had a 2-yard touchdown run for Sam Houston State in the third quarter, and the Bearkats added three scores against A&M’s backups in the fourth quarter.
Texas A&M freshman receiver Thomas Johnson, who was found safe by police in Dallas on Friday three days after he disappeared from campus, did not attend the game.
“Thomas is with his family now,” Sumlin said. “We’ve been in communication with his parents and we’ll see what happens from there.”