Arlington, TX – Johnny Manziel capped off a dream freshman season Friday night with a record-setting performance at the Cotton Bowl.
The Heisman Trophy winner ran for a pair of scores and threw for two touchdowns, as 10th-ranked Texas A&M blew out No. 12 Oklahoma, 41-13, at Cowboys Stadium.
Manziel set an FBS bowl record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 229 on 17 carries. He also completed 22-of-34 throws for 287 yards and was picked off once.
Manziel's rushing total eclipsed the previous mark of 201 yards set by Dwight Dasher of Middle Tennessee State in a victory over Southern Miss at the 2009 New Orleans Bowl.
"It's been crazy," Manziel said. "It's been a rollercoaster to see how things have played out from the first game to where they are now and what things have played out in my life as well as everybody on this team, how we've progressed as a team, how we've continued to get better every week. We came and played one of our best games all year today."
Ryan Swope had eight catches for 104 yards and a TD for the Aggies (11-2), but the big story building into next season will be the hype of Johnny Football. Manziel led the Aggies to their first 11-win season since 1998, capping it with a dominant second-half performance against their former Big 12 foe.
"There was reason for people to doubt us. You know, moving into a new league, .500 program over the last 10 years, I don't know why anybody wouldn't have doubted us," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "I don't see one game, and I've said this before, one game doesn't define a program, doesn't define your recruiting. I think your body of work does. This game tonight was indicative of how these guys have played all year."
Landry Jones connected on 35-of-48 passes for 278 yards with a TD and an interception for the Sooners (10-3), who earned a share of their eighth Big 12 title this season. OU was outscored, 27-0 in the second half.
"It was obvious tonight that we didn't play the way we should have played," Jones said. "We couldn't run it. We couldn't throw it."
Manziel ran 23 yards for a touchdown to cap a 75-yard game-opening drive.
Faced with a 3rd-and-3 right away, Manziel escaped pressure and scrambled 24 yards before sliding down. Ben Malena carried the load on three of the next four plays before Manziel worked more of his magic, this time on 3rd-and-9.
After being chased out of the pocket by linebacker Frank Shannon, Manziel bolted toward the left sideline, but never went out of bounds. Instead, he tight-roped past defensive back Javon Harris into the end zone.
"You've got to give him props for what we did today," Harris said. "It's nothing but respect for him. In the first part of the game, we tried to keep him contained and stay in the box, but once he slipped out, we were chasing him. We fell out of those holes and didn't keep him in the pocket. We knew what kind of player he was. Clearly, you saw what he did to the SEC all year. We knew exactly we were going to get into, but we wanted to keep him in the pocket and it didn't happen tonight."
The Sooners had to settle for a 23-yard field goal from Mike Hunnicutt, but were fortunate to get those points. They were stuffed on 4th-and-goal, but a false start negated the play prior to the field goal.
After Hunnicutt split the uprights from 24 yards away early in the second quarter, Manziel used his quick feet to move the Aggies inside the red zone with a 44-yard scramble.
But on third down, Manziel backpedaled and threw off his back foot to the middle of the end zone. Wide receiver Malcome Kennedy bobbled the ball and Harris came up with an interception with 9:09 left until halftime.
Texas A&M got the ball right back thanks to a Dustin Harris interception and needed three plays to push the lead to 14-6. Off a reverse, Kenric McNeal completed a 20-yard pass to Mike Evans, moving the ball to the OU 28. Malena busted down the right sideline for 23 yards.
Manziel then rolled to the left side of the field and dashed into the end zone untouched with 6:14 left in the half.
OU rallied within one with 1:16 left in the half thanks to a 13-play, 83-yard drive, which was culminated by Jones' 6-yard TD pass to Justin Brown on 3rd- and-goal.
The Aggies scored on their first drive of the second half, courtesy of Malena's 7-yard TD scamper to expand the lead to 21-13. The key play of the 91-yard trek came on Manziel's 35-yard completion to Uzoma Nwachukwu.
Trey Williams broke free for a 30-yard TD run for a 27-13 difference following a missed extra point later in the third and the Aggies busted the game open when a fourth down gamble paid off. On 4th-and-5, Manziel threw over the middle to Swope, who ran out of a diving tackler and surged to the end zone for a 33-yard score with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter.
Manziel connected with Nwachukwu on a 34-yard TD pass with 9:03 left in the game.
The Aggies, who won their final six games, scored first in every game this season ... Swope, a senior, broke the career receiving yards record at Texas A&M and finished with 3,117 ... Jalen Saunders had nine catches for 63 yards, while Oklahoma teammate Kenny Stills had seven grabs for 67 yards ... Evans had seven grabs for 83 yards ... Oklahoma had a three-game bowl winning streak broken ... The Aggies improved to 5-8 at the Cotton Bowl ... Manziel's 516 yards of total offense broke former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell's Cotton Bowl record.