Are you ready for some Football?
On the opening drive of the Cotton Bowl, the Oklahoma Sooners defense didn't seem like they were ready. Not for a high-profile football game or for Johnny Football, who was back piloting the Texas A&M offense for the first time since picking up the Heisman Trophy in New York City. The redshirt freshman sensation capped an eight-play opening drive with a mesmeric 23-yard dash around the Sooners' defense and up the sideline to the end zone.
After a touchback on the opening kickoff, Kevin Sumlins' Aggies began their first drive with a five-yard run by Manziel. They kept the ball on the ground for the next four plays, pounding away at Oklahoma with Manziel and Ben Malena. After Oklahoma called a timeout, Manziel attempted his first pass of the game, a four-yard completion to Mike Evans. Malena was then dropped for a 3-yard loss. Facing a 3rd-and-9 situation at the Oklahoma 23-yard line, the 20-year-old from Tyler, Tex. gave everyone a reminder of why he became the first freshman to take home the famed stiff-arm trophy.
Manziel dropped back in the pocket, surveyed the field. Seeing crimson jerseys shadowing the A&M white, he rolled out to his left. With linebacker Frank Shannon in pursuit, Manziel made for the Oklahoma sideline and the first-down marker. Running a few steps inside of the sideline, he picked up the first down and then stepped further toward the edge to elude safety Javon Harris. With Sooners defenders seemingly expecting him to go out of bounds, content with a fresh set of down, Manziel tip-toed the sideline and then skipped into the end zone, untouched.
"They'll have to look and see how he did on the sideline but Johnny Manziel.. Johnny Football may have become Johnny Houdini yet again," said Charles Davis, calling the game for FOX alongside Gus Johnson.
After review, the touchdown was confirmed. Even worse for Oklahoma, Manziel seemed to just be getting started.
After notching his school record 20th rushing touchdown on the first drive of the game, Manziel would add yet another rushing score in the second quarter. After the Sooners pulled within 7-6 thanks to a pair of field goals, Manziel would stake the Aggies to a 14-6 lead with a 5-yard rushing touchdown.
With a touchdown drive late in the second quarter, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones ensured that this game didn't become a showcase for Manziel before the intermission. Of course, Manziel still did plenty of showing off in the first half, finishing the second quarter with 113 rushing yards on just seven carries and 75 passing yards on 9-17 passing.
UPDATE 11:54 p.m. EST: Despite the best efforts of Landry Jones and the Oklahoma Sooners, the 2013 Cotton Bowl most certainly became the "Johnny Football Show" in the second half. With Manziel leading the way, the Aggies outscored the Sooners 27-0 in the second half. By the time that Manziel left the field, he had amassed a Cotton Bowl-record 516 total yards and joined Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick as the only quarterbacks in FBS history to amass 20 rushing touchdowns and 20 passing touchdowns in a single season.