Hop's Game Analysis - Chick-fil-A Bowl

The Texas Aggie football team slept through the first half of the Chick-fil-A Bowl and were all but left for dead down 38-17 in the third quarter. But the familiar duo of Johnny manziel and Toney Hurd bailed out the Aggies yet again. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop takes a quick look at the game.

Are you kidding me? Down by 21-points in he second half and the Aggies walk off as bowl champs? Truly amazing. This game was a capsule of this 2013 season. Actually, it was a capsule for the Manziel/Sumlin era. Johnny and the boys rumble up and down the field with a few spectacular circus plays by Manziel to spice it up, and a porous defense that inexplicably finds a way to make a critical play in the midst of a 600-yard game.

You had Johnny's signature fumble-360 degree TD pass in that Alabama win that put A&M on the SEC map in 2012. Then you had Manziel's "crowd surfer" TD pass to Travis Labhart last night as its parallel moment.

Then you had Toney Hurd's interception in the closing minutes of the 2012 game in Oxford when the Rebels were marching for the winning score. Fast forward to last night and on the EXACT same route, Hurd once again saved a huge game when he stepped in front of a pass in the slot and returned it for a pick six that gave the Aggies the largest comeback in program history. Tony Hurd has been a solid player, but let's be honest. When people look back on this era, Hurd won't be the first, second, third, fourth, or even the tenth player we will remember. But, other than Manziel, you can make a case that no other player had a greater impact on the success of this SEC transition era. Without his interception in Oxford last season, that game is the team's third loss and not the turning point that it eventually became. Without his pick six last night, the 2013 team finishes on a three-game losing streak and an 8-5 record that could've stopped the program's recruiting momentum going forward. Instead, the sporting world is still buzzing about Manziel and the Aggies as we prepare for the New Year's Day bowls.

The irony of this epic finish is the much maligned defensive unit. Yes, they were bad, They were horrible. They were shockingly inept. But....the 21-point comeback never happens without the defense. As bad as they were (and it was pitiful), the defense still delivered a goal line stand, a pick six, and a game-clinching final interception on the final three of four drives to allow Johnny and the offense to do its magic.

FYI, it was no coincidence that the defense made plays when Mark Snyder finally decided to take some chances, blitzing and bringing eight in the box. I'm telling you, if I see another 3-man rush in a game where the opponent has picked apart the secondary for 400+ yards, I'm going to explode.

Finally, you've got to give credit to the veterans on the defensive side when it counted. Senior Toney Hurd had the pick six. Junior Deshazor Everett had a beautiful pass break-up in the end zone on Duke's stud receiver Crowder when Snyder put him on an island. On the very next play, Everett blitzes and hits QB Boone that forces the desperation throw that sticks to senior Nate Askew for the clinching interception. The veterans delivered in crunch time.

My game balls go to:

1. Johnny Manziel
2. Derel Walker
3. Travis Labhart
4. Garrett Gramling (for you daddy)
5. Tony Hurd

Grades By Position


Oh doctor!!!!

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