Midseason review: Texas A&M


Record: (5-1, 2-1 SEC)

All those preseason questions about how equipped Texas A&M was to join the SEC have subsided. The Aggies have more than held their own halfway through their first season in the league. In fact, if a few plays go their way the second week against Florida, they’d be unbeaten right now and likely ranked in the top 10. First-year coach Kevin Sumlin, whose up-tempo offense lit up scoreboards at Houston, has done the same thing at Texas A&M, and he has one of the hottest players in the country right now in redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football. The Aggies, No. 18 in the first BCS standings this week, have scored 30 or more points in all five of their wins after opening the season with the 20-17 loss to the Gators. Manziel gets better every week running Sumlin’s offense and has already accounted for 24 touchdowns. The Aggies’ veteran offensive line has also played well. The one concern, at least the last two weeks, has come on defense. Texas A&M survived a wild 59-57 affair against Louisiana Tech last Saturday. That’s after rallying past Ole Miss for a 30-27 win two weeks ago. It’s hard to win shootouts every week in this league. Even so, the Aggies have proven they can score with anybody. They have a huge test this Saturday at home against LSU. If they can win that one, this could easily be a nine- or 10-win season.

Offensive MVP: QB Johnny Manziel. You’re starting to hear Manziel’s name pop up in the Heisman Trophy conversation. He’s broken the SEC record for total offense in a game twice this season and rolled up 576 yards in the win over Louisiana Tech last week. He also showed some real mental toughness in the comeback win over Ole Miss with a touchdown run and touchdown pass in the fourth quarter after committing a couple of turnovers earlier in the game.

Defensive MVP: DE Damontre Moore. Even though last week was a disaster defensively for the Aggies, Moore has emerged as one of the premier defenders in the league. He leads the team in total tackles with 52, and he also leads the SEC with 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Moore has always been a dangerous pass-rusher, but he’s become a more complete player this season.