Published January 05, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas – Oklahoma and steady veteran quarterback Landry Jones wound up being no match for Johnny Football and a former Big 12 rival.
Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel had a Cotton Bowl-record 516 total yards with four touchdowns and 10th-ranked Texas A&M wrapped up its first SEC season with a 41-13 win over the 12th-ranked Sooners on Friday night in Jones' 50th and final career start.
When Jones threw a 6-yard TD pass to Justin Brown just before halftime, the Sooners (10-3) were down by only a point.
They didn't score again. And after not punting before that, they opened the second half going three-and-out on their first three drives — while the Aggies (11-2) were scoring three consecutive touchdowns.
"It was obvious tonight that we didn't play the way we should have played," said Jones, whose frustration was evident when he yelled at a teammate after a failed fourth-down play. "We couldn't run it. We couldn't throw it. It happens, you know. "
The Sooners played in the Cotton Bowl for only the second time, but faced their former Big 12 rival for the 17th consecutive season.
With first-year coach Kevin Sumlin and their young star quarterback, the Aggies are already fitting right in with the SEC. They broke the broke the SEC record with their 7,261 total yards this season (the first over 7,000 after 633 in Cowboys Stadium). They also averaged more than 40 points a game.
And they capped their debut season with an overwhelming victory in the only postseason game matching teams from the Big 12 and SEC. It is the Aggies' first 11-win season since 1998, when they won their only Big 12 title.
The chants of "S-E-C! S-E-C!" began after Manziel's 33-yard TD pass to Ryan Swope with 4 minutes left in the third quarter for a 34-13 lead. They got louder and longer after that.
Texas A&M never trailed after Manziel tiptoed the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown on the first drive of the game.
"To come in and go against a Big 12 rival and do everything we wanted as a team, and send these seniors out with a win, we couldn't feel any better," Manziel said after his first game since becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman.
Texas A&M never trailed while winning its last six games. That included its win at SEC champion Alabama, which plays for the BCS national title Monday night.
Manziel set an FBS bowl record with his 229 yards rushing on 17 carries, and completed 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards.
"Johnny Manziel is everything he was billed to be, expected him to be," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who after the game shook the quarterback's hand and told him "good job."
SEC teams have won the last five Cotton Bowls, all against Big 12 teams, and nine out of 10. That included Texas A&M's loss to LSU only two years ago.
Oklahoma, led by quarterback Landry Jones in his 50th career start, had 401 total yards as a team.
Jones completed 35 of 48 passes for 278 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He won 39 games and three bowls for the Sooners, in a career that started on the same field in the 2009 season opener when he replaced injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford in the first college game played at Cowboys Stadium.
But it was the Heisman-winning freshman who stole the show in Landry's finale, and kept it from becoming only the third quarterback to win four bowl games as a starter.
"Best player I've ever played. He does so many good things. He's got magic," Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of Manziel. "He'll have a chance to win four (Heismans) if he stays healthy."
Texas A&M had TD drives of 91 and 89 yards in the second half before Manziel's TD pass to Swope on a fourth-and-5 play.
"In the first half we played together as a team, limited them, used the clock, scored. That's how you have to play them. In the second half it totally broke down offensively and defensively," Bob Stoops said. "We had guys plenty of times in position to make a play. Couldn't make a play."
Already with a 24-yard gain on an earlier third down their opening drive, the Aggies had third-and-9, Manziel rolled to his left and took off. When he juked around a defender and got near the sideline, he tiptoed to stay in bounds and punctuated his score with a high-step over the pylon for a quick lead.
Officials reviewed the touchdown play, but it was clear by the replay shown on the huge video screen above the Cowboys Stadium field that Manziel stayed in bounds.
"There is too much talk about how you perform after the Heisman and about the layoff and all of that," said Manziel, who set an SEC record with his 4,600 total yards in the regular season. "There wasn't anything holding us back. No rust, there was no nothing. We played as a unit. ... To go out and win 11 games and do what we've done, is impressive."