Johnny Manziel's thrill ride continues

Johnny Manziel's thrill ride continues

November 21st, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Johnny Manziel

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

OTHER PICKS

So. Carolina 38, Co. Carolina 9

Duke 35, Wake Forest 22

Miami 29, Virginia 16

Clemson 52, The Citadel 7

UNC 41, Old Dominion 14

N.C. State 24, East Carolina 23

Florida State 70, Idaho 15

MTSU 27, Southern Miss 10

Notre Dame 23, BYU 21

Ohio State 56, Indiana 18

UCF 28, Rutgers 19

Oregon 39, Arizona 24

Baylor 33, Oklahoma St. 30

Wisconsin 22, Minnesota 17

Stanford 45, California 6

Louisville 37, Memphis 8

USC 30, Colorado 13

Whether Texas A&M wins Saturday at LSU or not, there has been no sophomore slump for Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel.

After a turbulent offseason and some uncertainty regarding his eligibility, Manziel is well on his way to leading the Southeastern Conference in total offense for a second straight season. His average of 392.4 yards through 10 games nearly matches the 393.5-yard average from last season, when he became the first redshirt freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

Manziel is averaging 46 more passing yards a game and 47 fewer rushing yards per contest.

"I think their quarterback is a much better quarterback than he was a year ago," LSU coach Les Miles said on Wednesday's league teleconference. "He recognizes where he needs to go with the ball and gets it out of his hand very quickly. He's very accurate."

There were no shortage of detractors at the beginning of the season, with some wondering if Manziel could keep it together mentally and others believing he wouldn't have the element of surprise in his second SEC go-around. Instead, Manziel has guided the Aggies to 49.2 points a game, which is ahead of last season's 44.5-point clip.

His Heisman campaign has been in overdrive since the third game against top-ranked Alabama, when he led the Aggies to 628 yards, the highest total ever compiled against the Crimson Tide.

"Everybody had a year's worth of tape on us," Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said, "but I think my reply in the offseason was that we had a year's worth of tape on them, too."

Manziel will now face the team that has provided the stiffest test of his career. In last year's meeting, which the Tigers won 24-19 in College Station, Manziel was held to 303 total yards and threw three interceptions.

"LSU was extremely effective, and a lot of those players aren't playing in this game Saturday," Sumlin said.

Pasquali's Pix:

Mississippi State at Arkansas: The Bulldogs have never won in the state of Arkansas. Razorbacks 24, Bullies 21.

UTC at Alabama: According to most recruiting services, Alabama has the edge in five-star players. Crimson Tide 45, Mocs 3.

Georgia Southern at Florida: What a majestic drive between these two campuses. Gators 33, Eagles 14.

Alabama A&M at Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets wouldn't mind beating the Bulldogs two straight weeks. Jackets 48, Bulldogs 7.

Texas A&M at LSU: Miles is 22-1 when coming off a loss. Tigers 27, Aggies 24.

Kentucky at Georgia: Whether he makes it in the NFL or not, Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray has been a delight to watch. Bulldogs 34, Wildcats 17.

Vanderbilt at Tennessee: Since the formation of the SEC in 1933, the Commodores have never defeated the Volunteers in consecutive years. Commodores 23, Vols 20.

Missouri at Ole Miss: Who had this before the season as one of the most important SEC games of the year? Rebels 24, Tigers 23.

Last week:

Winners......................19

Marion paint cans.......6

Pasquali is 248-52 overall (82.7 percent) this season.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.