Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M take down Alabama; more midday Snap Judgments
• No. 15 Texas A&M 29, No. 1 Alabama 24. We are reminded tonight of how Kevin Sumlin’s first round of interviews went at last summer’s SEC Media Days. No reporter actually stood up, shoved a mic in his face and asked, “HEY COACH, YOU SKEERED?” but something like that wasn’t all that far from happening by the time the Q&A ended. Sumlin dispensed with those questions back in July with gracious humor, some quips and a few dagger stares. Tonight, his Aggies dispensed with the No. 1 team in the country.
Heading into Week 11, Alabama had a perfect record in 2012, one loss in nearly two full seasons of football and a unanimous lock on the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll. And tonight, in Tuscaloosa, the Tide were rudely introduced to a Kliff Kingsbury offense that put them in a 20-0 hole, at home, by the end of the first quarter. ‘Bama answered with two touchdowns and a field goal over the next two quarters, but it surrendered nine more points to the Aggies in the fourth. The Tide pulled to within a five-point, 29-24 deficit on a 54-yard AJ McCarron-to-Amari Cooper score halfway through the final period and held A&M to a three-and-out on the subsequent possession. But a costly McCarron interception inside the five-yard line on what could have been the game-winning drive, plus a ‘Bama offsides penalty with A&M set to punt in the final minute, sealed the stunning upset.
Johnny Football stats? Oh, do we ever have Johnny Football stats. Manziel completed 24-of-31 attempts for 254 yards and two touchdowns, and he led led the Aggies in rushing with 92 yards on 18 carries. He was sacked four times and threw no interceptions.
So what happens now? The Coaches’ Poll will probably still have Alabama ranked first, because it is the Coaches’ Poll and irretrievably silly. The Heisman race heats up after Manziel’s showing, if you’re into that sort of thing. And Kansas State could be the new No. 1 tomorrow after a win tonight at TCU. Then, of course, there’s this:
Think of the irony. SEC adds Texas A&M for money and may have just cost itself its BCS title streak.
— Jon Solomon (@jonsol) November 11, 2012
We’re going to hit some more highlights from the midday games, but Andy Staples was on the scene in Tuscaloosa and has much more. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 10 Clemson 45, Maryland 10. The Tigers jumped out in front 28-0 before the Terps even got on the board, and let’s take a moment to celebrate our favorite of those four touchdowns. Halfway through the first quarter, a fumble by Maryland quarterback Shawn Petty was recovered by Clemson defensive end Corey Crawford, who rumbled 16 yards to the end zone. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds in his Clemson bio, Crawford delivered more of a Large Guy Touchdown than the elusive Fat Guy Touchdown. But just listen to Crawford in the postgame press conference. We dare you not to be happy for him: “It comes hard. Those do not come every day. The feeling is indescribable. I am just so happy right now.” Nice work, big guy. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 18 Nebraska 32, Penn State 23. The Nittany Lions scared the Lincoln crowd early with a 50-yard touchdown run from Zach Zwinak in the first minute of play. Penn State also scared the fans late, carrying a 23-20 lead into the fourth quarter. But the Huskers muscled up in the final period, scoring a touchdown, a field goal and a safety to secure a nine-point win. Bo Pelini expressed open relief in his postgame remarks: “Happy to get out of here with a win. It’s a good football team that we played today, and I’m happy to come out of it with a win.” [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 21 USC 38, Arizona State 17. Matt Barkley, ever the gracious host, threw three interceptions to the Sun Devils this evening, which netted ASU a grand total of 10 points. But don’t feel too bad for the kid: He also set new program and conference records for career passing yardage en route to the Trojans’ first win since October 20. Marqise Lee caught 11 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown, while Curtis McNeal lead the Trojans’ ground attack with 162 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries and added a 22-yard receiving touchdown. [BOX | RECAP]
• Oklahoma State 55, West Virginia 34. A pointsplosion in the likeliest of places. Clint Chelf, in service at quarterback for the Cowboys, threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns. His primary target was Josh Stewart, who pulled in 13 catches for 172 yards and two scores. Geno Smith: 364 yards, two touchdowns. Stedman Bailey: 14 catches, 225 yards. WVU also surrendered a 96-yard kickoff return to Justin Gilbert at the end of the first quarter. [BOX | RECAP]
• Arizona 56, Colorado 31. This is not a score one might expect a team that’s missing its starting quarterback to put up, even against the likes of Colorado. The Wildcats’ secret? Ka’Deem Carey, a sophomore running back with a perfectly appropriate surname and legs that may be close to falling off right now. Carey recorded 368 (three hundred and sixty-eight) rushing yards on 25 carries for the ‘Cats, scoring five touchdowns along the way and breaking school and Pac-12 single-game records. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 14 Stanford 27, No. 11 Oregon State 23. How’s freshly installed Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan doing? Pretty well after his first start, in which he completed 21-of-29 pass attempts for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Hogan threw two picks and was sacked twice. Stepfan Taylor recorded his sixth triple-digit rushing effort of the season, with 113 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 14 Oklahoma 42, Baylor 34. Nick Florence completed 12-of-33 pass attempts for 172 yards this evening. That’s his lowest passing output of the year by more than a hundred yards, and one of only two times this season he’s recorded fewer than 300 aerial yards, though he did notch a season-high rushing total of 83 yards on 15 attempts. Landry Jones went 25-of-36 for 277 yards and two touchdowns; Damien Williams and Blake Bell combined for 172 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Big night for Lache Seastrunk, who accounted for three of the Bears’ four touchdowns. [BOX | RECAP]