Recap: Texas A&M vs. Miss State
College Station, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Manziel matched a career high with five touchdown passes in powering the 11th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies to a 51-41 win over a Mississippi State Bulldogs squad that had a quarterback playing with a heavy heart.
Manziel finished with 446 yards on 30-of-39 passing and overcame three interceptions.
"I thought he made enough plays for us to win, made some big plays, really critical plays before the half," Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said of Manziel. "I'm sure there's a couple of them I knew he really wanted to have back, trying to do too much a couple times, but he gave us a chance there."
Travis Labhart and Malcome Kennedy both caught two touchdown passes for Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2 SEC), which registered the 700th win in program history.
Dak Prescott played for the Bulldogs just days after his mother passed away. He completed 14-of-26 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns and one interception to go along with 154 yards rushing.
Tyler Russell also saw action at quarterback and threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass for the Bulldogs (4-5, 1-4).
Jamerson Love picked off a tipped Manziel pass, the second interception for the defensive back, on the opening drive of the third quarter. The Bulldogs then marched to the red zone, but a holding penalty bumped them back and it proved costly as Evan Sobiesk missed a 40-yard field goal with Mississippi State down only nine points.
Manziel stretched the lead to 30-14 with a 21-yard TD pass to Kennedy.
The teams then traded scores at a lightning-quick pace.
Following a third Manziel turnover, Prescott found LaDarius Perkins from 12 yards away to punctuate a 9-play, 96-yard drive with 44 seconds to play in the third quarter. The 2-point conversion failed.
Texas A&M needed only 32 seconds to cover 90 yards. Trey Williams dashed up the middle for a touchdown after a 75-yard catch-and-run by Mike Evans.
Prescott closed out the frame with a 44-yard scamper, and the Bulldogs opened the fourth quarter with a little trickery. Prescott handed off to Jameon Lewis on a reverse and Joe Morrow caught a perfectly thrown ball from the wide receiver for a 31-yard touchdown to make it 37-27.
Williams then returned the ensuing kickoff for what looked to be a touchdown, but the points were taken away because he flipped into the end zone from the three.
No matter. It took the offense only three plays to recoup the points as Nehemiah Hicks caught a 2-yard TD pass 1:06 into the quarter.
Prescott looked to extend the frenzied attack, but he threw an interception on the next Mississippi State drive. A 2-yard TD run by Ben Malena put the Aggies up 51-27 with 10:52 to play.
The Bulldogs refused to go away and scored two more touchdowns, but couldn't complete the comeback.
"There is nothing good about losing a game, but I am proud of the way our kids battled for four quarters," Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said. "We are going to continue to battle, continue to fight, and continue to believe. We are going to need that down the stretch."
Knowing full well the potency of Texas A&M's offense, the visitors were aggressive in their play-calling on their second drive of the game, but wound up turning the ball over on downs. Facing a 4th-and-1, Perkins was tackled for a 2-yard loss at the Aggies' 38.
Manziel then factored in on all six plays of the ensuing drive, one that ended with a 12-yard touchdown grab by Kennedy.
Mississippi State quickly countered on its next play from scrimmage as Josh Robinson ran for a 51-yard touchdown.
The Aggies looked to respond, but a promising drive was derailed when Manziel was intercepted by Love near the goal line. The Texas A&M defense forced a three-and-out and Sam Moeller blocked a punt that rolled out of the back of the end zone for a go-ahead safety.
Manziel then threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Labhart with six seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs capitalized on a short field to trim the deficit to 16-14. They started a drive at the Texas A&M 35 following a face mask penalty against the Aggies on a punt return. Four running plays placed the ball at the 3-yard line and De'Runnya Wilson hauled in a jump pass from Prescott for the score with 54 seconds remaining in the first half.
That was plenty of time for the Aggies, who covered 75 yards in 38 seconds. Manziel capped the four-play sequence with an 11-yard strike to Labhart to make it 23-14 at the break.Game Notes
Manziel now has 31 touchdown passes this season, surpassing Jerrod Johnson's
previous single-season school record of 30 from 2009 ... Evans had 116 yards
on five receptions. He set a school record for the most receiving yards in a
single season with 1,263. Evans broke Ryan Swope's mark of 1,207 set in 2011
... The Aggies have scored 40 or more points in 13 straight games ...
Mississippi State narrowly outgained Texas A&M 556-537 in total offensive
yards ... The Aggies have accumulated 500 or more yards in nine consecutive