Controversial Quarterback Johnny Manziel Leads the Aggies against the Crimson Tide

By  Tre Fowler

This Saturday all eyes will be glued to the television, as the reigning NCAA Champion, Alabama Crimson Tide, rolls into College Station to take on the defending Heisman trophy winner, Johnny Manziel, and his Texas A&M Aggies. It could be assumed that this game holds National Title implications because each of the last seven seasons, an SEC team has been crowned champion, winning bragging rights over the other power conferences.

This past off-season, Manziel was featured in many controversial stories including allegations that Manziel received impermissible benefits in exchange for his autograph. Despite lacking concrete evidence, Texas A&M and the NCAA agreed to suspend Manziel for the first half against Rice in the opening game.

In his return to the field, many scrutinized Manziel for his antics, who taunted the opposition multiple times, resulting in a penalty against him. Manziel was later removed from the game by head coach Kevin Sumlin. Manziel’s latest behavior could be described as juvenile, completely overshadowing his performance on the field. He must realize that such behavior is malignant to any effort in unseating the National Champs.

The memory from the matchup last year is still embedded into our minds. The most memorable play of the game was when the Crimson Tide blitzed, applying pressure on Manziel. It looked as if the play had completely failed, as Manziel ran into one of his own linemen, but somehow he managed to avoid being sacked. He then bobbled the football, regained possession, and proceeded to rollout to the left throwing awkwardly on the run, finding Ryan Swope in the back of the end zone.

Led by their freshman quarterback, the Aggies went on that night to shock the world by defeating the Crimson Tide. We can only hope that this year’s matchup will be just as good as the last.

Keys to victory for Texas A&M: It would be wise for Texas A&M to dial up the pressure against Alabama to flush the Alabama quarterback out of the pocket. Other than Offensive Tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama’s offensive line looked suspect against Virginia Tech last week. The Aggies cannot allow the astute A.J. McCarron to sit back in the pocket, unscathed, to pick apart their defense.

Keys to victory for Alabama: Offensively, the Crimson Tide should try to win the time of possession, keeping Manziel off the field. Defensively, Alabama must attempt, in anyway possible, to knock Manziel off his game. They can do that by playing bump-and-run coverage, in hopes of disrupting the timing of the routes. Alabama must also contain Manziel, by not allowing him to escape the pocket and work his magic.