The only thing that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel didn't succeed in during Fox's Cotton Bowl broadcast Friday night was a fan poll on whether he would win another Heisman Trophy, losing out 66-34 percent.
The second half of Fox's broadcast turned into a “Johnny Football” lovefest with the broadcasters nearly running out of adjectives to describe him.
Much of it was deserved for a performance in which the redshirt freshman rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns. If ESPNU's Heart of Dallas Bowl announcers Clay Matvick and Matt Stinchcomb had called the game, they would have accused him of running up the score.
After showing a montage of Manziel's post-Heisman itinerary, including appearances on the David Letterman and Jay Leno talk shows, analyst Charles Davis noted the extracurricular activities didn't hurt his performance. “Heisman Trophy winners don't normally come back and play this well.”
Davis said Manziel wore down the Sooners mentally and physically. “What he does as the games goes on is affect you mentally because you can only chase him and miss so many times without that working on your mind and your spirit.”
Fox captured OU coach Bob Stoops and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops showing frustration after another big Manziel run. “Two of the better defensive coordinators in college football, and I'll say history,” Davis said, “and their players are frustrated, too.”
Play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson got carried away at times. “He's a bigger guy than you would think,” he said. “He's 6-1, 200 with a size 15 shoe. His hands look like baseball gloves. This kid could go to sleep tonight and wake up 6-7 tomorrow.”
Studio analyst Eddie George predicted the Aggies would be in the running for the 2013 national title. “They had no answer for him in the second half,” he said of OU. “I'm looking at 2013 with eight home games and four away games. This team could be in a position for a national championship because they are bringing the key guy back. There is no defense that is going to stop him.”
Sideline analyst Petros Papadakis said Manziel reminded him of former Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon. “Gosh, he just doesn't get hit,” Papadakis said. “I have never seen a guy get a clean shot. … This guy has field awareness like (former Chicago Bears running back) Gale Sayers.”
*OU quarterback Landry Jones earned praise from Davis for scrambling on his 6-yard touchdown pass to Justin Brown late in the first half, which cut the lead to 14-13. “How 'bout Landry Jones getting outside the chaos of the pocket, extending the play and picking up the touchdown with his arm. … The evolution of Landry Jones this year, increasing the pocket.”
*After the Belldozer formation was stopped in the first quarter, Davis said it was an indication of the SEC's more physical play than the Big 12. “You know what I think we saw on that first goal-line stand, the value of SEC football for Texas A&M. The Belldozer package, heavy package, they see that a lot in the SEC. Big guys running the ball in short-yardage situations, they work against that almost every week now.”
*Both Johnson and Davis said they thought bruising fullback Trey Millard was underused in OU's offense. “I think Trey Millard is a terrific weapon who appears to deserve more touches,” Davis said.
*On several occasions, Davis noted the Sooners' dismal offensive in the second half. After a delay-of-game penalty, he said, “Right now this Oklahoma team is struggling in all aspects, trying to get something done.”
*Both announcers marveled at Cowboys Stadium. “You got to get to this stadium,” Johnson said, “one of the most incredible spectacles that you'll see.” Davis: “It's awesome even when it's not filled.”