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November 28, 2012
Johnny Manziel: Top 12 Plays of 2012
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photo: Thomas Campbell, facebook.com/tgcphoto
Special thanks to TAMU Highlights for his contributions to this project. Special thanks also to Thomas Campbell Photography. See more at facebook.com/tgcphoto.
 

Johnny Football's 12 best plays

List selected by TexAgs Staff. Written by Olin Buchanan.

12. Blew by you, Bengals — Oct. 20 vs. LSU:
Facing third-and-13 at his own 23-yard line, Manziel was forced out of the pocket by safety Micah Eugene, who blitzed from the right. Manziel ran to his left with Eugene, Sam Montgomery and Lamin Barrow in pursuit.  Manziel hesitated, dodged Eugene and then reversed his field. He cut back inside to avoid a tackle and surged forward for a 14-yard gain and a first down.

11. No ‘Kneed’ to worry — Nov. 24 vs. Missouri: The 82,777 at Kyle Field held their collective breath when Manziel was writhing on the field with an apparent knee injury. He left the game momentarily, but returned in the second quarter and showed that his knee was just fine on a five-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans.

On the play, A&M had third-and-goal as Manziel dropped into the pocket. He twisted away from the rush of Missouri DE Kony Ealy, who was left flailing at Manziel’s ankles. Manziel then spun away from DE Michael Sams, who had two hands on Manziel’s back. The A&M phenom then scrambled to his right toward the line of scrimmage. As two Missouri defenders converged, he threw to Evans at the goal line.

Andrew Kilzer, TexAgs It was Manziel's record-breaking performance against Arkansas that first put him on the national map, and his curlicue touchdown run that left heads spinning. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"left","Size":"large","Caption":"It was Manziel\u0027s record-breaking performance against Arkansas that first put him on the national map, and his curlicue touchdown run that left heads spinning.","MediaItemID":22128}
10. Running circles around the Hogs — Sept. 29 vs. Arkansas: Six-yard touchdowns aren’t typically highlight fodder, but Manziel’s loop-de-loop through the Arkansas defense was not a typical six-yard run. On third-and-goal in the fourth quarter Manziel was looking to pass, but linebacker Tenarius Wright closed in from his left.

Manziel scrambled back to his right with Wright in pursuit. He then cut back as Wright fell to the ground. Going back to his left, Manziel outran a couple of Arkansas defenders for a touchdown.

9. Heisman pose — Nov. 10 at Alabama: Manziel gave the defending national champions a taste of what was to come on A&M’s opening drive. The Aggies faced second-and-seven at the Tide 43-yard line when Manziel dropped back and then burst through a hole on a quarterback draw. He raced about 15 yards down the middle of the field.

He then cut to his left at the 25-yard line, where he stiff-armed Deion Belue in a classic Heisman Trophy pose. The play gained 29 yards to the Alabama 14-yard line. It was the longest play in the drive.

8. Making it look Eazy — Nov. 24 vs. Missouri: The stat sheet just showed an eight-yard touchdown pass. Highlight reels showed another stunning play. On second-and-seven, Manziel faked a handoff to Trey Williams and drifted to his right as he searched for an open receiver. When the protection broke down, Manziel evaded Ealy but stepped toward nose guard Matt Hoch, who grabbed Manziel’s right leg.

However, Manziel was able to pull away from Hoch’s grasp and sprinted back to his left. Manziel avoided Sam and continued across the field until he found Uzoma Nwachukwu in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.

7. Beating triple coverage — Nov. 10 at Alabama: A&M was clinging to a 23-17 lead and had the ball on its own 34-yard line after recovering a fumble. On the first play, Manziel faked a handoff to Ben Malena, drifted to his right and then launched a perfect pass to Ryan Swope between Alabama’s Vinnie Sunseri, Ron Lester and HaHa Clinton-Dix for a 42-yard gain to the 24.

Brandon Jones, TexAgs Manziel dashed through the Bulldog defense with ease, leaving not long after halftime — but not before providing a preview of what was to come the following week. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"Manziel dashed through the Bulldog defense with ease, leaving not long after halftime — but not before providing a preview of what was to come the following week.","MediaItemID":23818}
6. Stampede in Starkville — Nov. 3 at Mississippi State: The Aggies scored on their first two series, but the third drive was in danger of stalling. A&M had third-and-10 at the Bulldogs’ 37-yard line. Manziel looked to pass, but scrambled around the right end. He cut back left toward the middle of the field at the 30 and then cut back right at the 20. He eventually ran through two attempted tackles at the six-yard line to complete a 37-yard touchdown run and stake the Aggies to a 21-0 lead.

5. Jump pass on the Ponies — Sept. 15 at SMU: On A&M’s first possession of the second half, Manziel dropped into the pocket on third-and-nine at the SMU 42. Linebacker Taylor Reed blitzed and had both hands on Manziel’s shoulders, but Manziel spun away and rolled left to the midfield.

Then, as more pressure converged, Manziel jumped off one foot and threw downfield to Kenric McNeal, who caught it and ran for a 42-yard touchdown.

4. Comeback kid — Oct. 6 at Ole Miss: A rash of turnovers left A&M facing a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Manziel cut the margin to four points with a 29-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. Then, after a defensive stop, Manziel led the Aggies to the Ole Miss 20-yard line where they faced third-and-two. Manziel threw off his back foot and lofted a perfect pass over Ole Miss defensive back LaKendrick King to Swope for the game-winning touchdown with one minute and 46 seconds remaining.

3. Kennedy to the pylon — Nov. 10 at Alabama: One play after Manziel beat triple coverage with a 42-yard completion to Swope, the freshman quarterback found Malcome Kennedy one-on-one against cornerback Dee Milliner, a Jim Thorpe Award finalist. Milliner futility tried to swat away a perfectly arced a pass over Kennedy’s left shoulder near the front left pylon of the end zone. That proved to be the winning touchdown in A&M’s 29-24 victory.

Jason McConnell, Aggieland Illustrated The performance against Bama sealed Manziel's trip to New York, and his near-fumble touchdown would go on to define his magic. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"The performance against Bama sealed Manziel\u0027s trip to New York, and his near-fumble touchdown would go on to define his magic.","MediaItemID":24166}
2. The long run — Oct. 13 vs. Louisiana Tech: Clinging to a 53-44 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Aggies were facing third-and-24 at their own 28-yard line after a penalty. What to do? Just let Johnny run.

Manziel dashed over the right side on a quarterback draw, split two defenders at the 40 and outran the defense for a 72-yard touchdown run that provided the winning points in a 59-57 victory over Louisiana Tech.

1. Fumble and throw — Nov. 10 at Alabama: Facing third-and-goal midway through the first quarter, Manziel first looked to pass from the 10-yard line. He started to run to his right, but a lane closed. He retreated back into the pocket and bumped into right guard Cedric Ogbuehi, causing the ball to pop out of his hand.

However, he quickly regained control, moved to his left and then spotted Swope in the back of the end zone for a touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead.
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