Fayetteville, AR -- Like him or not, Johnny Manziel proved again just how good of a college football player he is.
The Heisman Trophy winner led his Texas A&M Aggies (4-1, 1-1) on three second-half scoring drives, leading to a 45-33 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-2, 0-1).
Manziel finished 23-30, throwing for 261 yards and two touchdowns. His elusiveness added another 66 yards on the ground. He often bought time in the pocket to find receivers in the Aggies' explosive offense.
"I give my credit to A&M," said Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. "Johnny (Manziel) is a great player, great competitor and makes things happen."
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen returned after missing the last seven quarters with a sprained shoulder. He finished 17-36 for 282 yards and three touchdowns, throwing two interceptions. Allen says he felt healthy throughout the game.
"I tried to stay mentally there, if I wasn't going to be physically," said Allen. "Anytime you can play against someone like that, Johnny. It's a lot of fun to play against someone like that."
Texas A&M started the scoring fast in the first-half. Manziel connected with Mike Evans for two touchdowns. He led the Aggies to a quick 24-10 lead.
Then, Allen took over the game. The red-shirt sophmore marched the Hogs down the field on consecutive drives, leading to ten unanswered points. The Hogs closed the gap to 24-20 to end the first-half.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin expected Arkansas' best on offense.
"They kept us off-balance, wheel-routes, reverses, you name it," said Sumlin. "We got the kitchen sink tonight. There were balls all over the place and just a really diversified attack."
Arkansas' first drive of the second-half turned out to be points for Texas A&M. Allen threw the first of his two interceptions that Dehazor Everett returned for 34 yards and a touchdown. But the Hogs offense answered again. Allen led Arkansas on a ten-play, 82-yard drive. It ended on a nine-yard touchdown run by freshman Alex Collins. Collins surpassed the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season. He finished with 116 yards. His run cut the Aggies lead to 31-27.
"We have responded well to adversity all year," said Allen. "We knew we could come back and needed a big drive there."
That was as close as the Hogs would get. The Aggies offensive game plan in the second-half was much different than the up-tempo first-half. The combination of Trey Williams and Tra Carson accounted for three Aggies scoring drives. The rushing attack also winded down the clock. Two of the touchdown drives consisted of only rushing plays.
"We have to go back to the drawing board on that," said defensive end Chris Smith. "The offensive line (Texas A&M) was good."
Bielema says he continues to see the effort from his team.
"I'm excited about this group though, they continue to give me the effort they did this week in practice and play the way they did today on Saturday, I think we will be able to win some games," said Bielema. "Obviously, the schedule doens't get any easier with Florida coming up."
The Hogs will travel to Gainesville Saturday. The broadcast schedule has yet to be determined.
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