The country’s most outstanding player became the most outstanding player on this night by rushing for a Cotton Bowl quarterback record 228 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while throwing for 288 yards and another two scores as the Sooners, like most of the rest of teams he’s faced this year, simply had no answer for him.
"Johnny Manziel is everything he was billed to be, expected him to be," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "You got to give our team at times miss a bunch. But he makes everybody miss 'em. He was what you've seen on tape the whole year."
Behind him, they amassed 633 yards of total offense, while a very inconsistent and shaky Sooner offense finished with 402 after coming unraveled in the second half.
The Aggies did what they’ve done every other game this season in scoring first when quarterback Johnny Manziel sprinted 23 yards and acrobatically stayed in bounds on a third-and-9 play on their first drive.
OU appeared poised to tie it up on their first possession, but the drive stalled inside the 1, and a penalty forced a 23-yard field goal try that made it 7-3.
The Sooners again moved inside the 10 on their next drive but again stalled, resulting in a 24-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 7-6.
"You know, in the course of a long game I mean we knew that we wanted to score touchdowns in this game," said OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. "Whenever you play a very talented offensive team and with some of the offensive stars that they have, you gotta score touchdowns when you get in the red zone."
They forced a Manziel interception when A&M was inside the 5 and were on the march towards taking their first lead of the game—they never transpired—but then quarterback Landry Jones returned the favor with one of his own.
Manziel didn’t take long to cash that in, as he guided the Aggies half the field and scored on a 5-yard touchdown run.
That made it 14-6.
OU got to business on its next drive.
When it seemed like it would stall yet another time inside the 10, Jones found wide receiver Justin Brown for the 6-yard toss to draw within one at intermission.
The Sooners got the ball first out of the break, giving them yet another chance to climb on top, but A&M forced a three-and-out.
OU’s defense did not.
Manziel pitched to running back Ben Malena for the 7-yard touchdown run to extend the Aggies lead to 21-13 early in the third.
Another three-and-out paved the way for the first double digit lead of the ball game for the visiting SEC squad.
"Come out at half [slow] obviously is disappointing," said OU co-offensive coordinator and play caller Josh Heupel. "It's 14-13, you got a chance to take the lead, then you follow it up with the next one, too. And the next one's critical because it's still a one-possession game. You punt on your second three and out, and they go score, it changes. Now, it's a two-possession game."
Running back Trey Williams sprinted in for a 30-yard score to run the count to 27-13 after the point after attempt failed.
A&M turned it into a rout on Manziel’s 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ryan Swope on fourth-and-5 late in the third quarter.
"You've got to give it to him," said OU strong safety Javon Harris. "He's not a Heisman winner for no reason. You've got to give him props for what he did today."
The Aggies made it worse, perhaps even embarrassing on Manziel’s fourth and final touchdown of the day, a 34-yard bomb to wide receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu, that completed the scoring at 41-13.
Jones finished his Sooner career with a 35-of-49 performance that went for 279 yards and a touchdown, along with an interception.
"I can't say enough about my experience here at OU and the things that I've gotten to do here," Jones said. "Coach Heupel and Coach Stoops, you can't say enough about those guys...It was obvious tonight that we didn't play the way we should have played. We couldn't run it. We couldn't throw it. It happens, you know."
Running back Brennan Clay led the OU ground game with his 10 carries for 43 yards, while wide receiver Kenny Stills had seven catches for 67 yards.
In addition to Manziel’s antics on the ground, Malena and Williams each had a touchdown carry for the Aggies, while Swope paced the aerial attack with his eight receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown.
The Sooners (10-3), Co-Big 12 Champions, finish the season having their five-game winning streak snapped.
Now, they’ll head into the offseason with some uncertainty as to which guys might possibly head to the NFL or which will stay, though fullback Trey Millard became the first to say he's returning for his senior season.
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