Cotton-picking “Johnny Football” stings Sooners

Oklahoma’s Jalen Saunders dives for extra yards in the 2013 Cotton Bowl. (Photo by Bob Malish)

By Kyle Salomom

Bad third quarter execution led to a Cotton Bowl defeat for the Sooners against Texas A&M.

Trailing by one point at halftime by a score of 14-13, the Oklahoma Sooners were in prime position to take control of the lead to start the second half in the Cotton Bowl over the Aggies.

OU’s Landry Jones throws a pass in the loss to Texas A&M. (Photo by Bob Malish)

The Sooners got the first possession of the half and went three-and-out. From that point on, Texas A&M hammered Oklahoma for a 41-13 win.

The loss dropped OU’s overall season record to 10-3 on the season, while the Aggies finished the year with an 11-2 mark.

“You give Texas A&M all of the credit for playing a great, great football game,” Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said after the game. “Johnny Manziel is everything he is billed to be, expected to be. But again, Coach (Kevin) Sumlin and his staff completely outplayed, outcoached us the whole second half.”

Texas A&M Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel dominated the Sooners defense throughout the game. Manziel rushed for a Cotton Bowl record 229 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. He also passed for 287 yards on 22 out of 34 completions for two touchdowns and one interception – a dropped touchdown pass by his receiver in the end zone.

The Aggies got the party started right out of the gate as they took the opening kick and drove the ball down the field against the Oklahoma defense with Manziel eventually capping the possession off with a touchdown scamper.

Oklahoma’s Blake Bell gained 11 yards in the loss to the Aggies. (Photo by Bob Malish)

The Sooners responded with a long drive of their own, taking the ball inside the Texas A&M 5-yard line, but failed to punch it into the end zone and was forced to kick a field goal. Oklahoma got the ball back, and again drove down the field only to be stuffed at the goal line. Another Sooner field goal cut the Aggies lead to one at 7-6.

Manziel took his offense down the field after a Landry Jones interception and scored a touchdown to give Texas A&M a 14-6 advantage. Oklahoma was able to respond just before halftime with a touchdown drive of its own on a Jones pass to senior wide receiver Justin Brown to make it a one-point difference at halftime.

The third quarter was all Aggies as OU couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end and the Sooners defense wilted under the Manziel pressure. Texas A&M outscored the Sooners 20-0 in the quarter to take a 34-13 lead into the fourth.

The Aggies added one more touchdown in the final quarter of the game to make the final difference 28 points. It was the second worst bowl loss by Stoops in his tenure with the Sooners. The worst was in the 2005 national championship game to Southern California when Oklahoma was throttled by the Trojans, 55-19.

Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel rolled up over 400 yards against the Sooners. (Photo by Bob Malish)

Texas A&M finished the game with 28 total first downs and 633 total offensive yards against the Sooners. Manziel passed for 307 yards on the night and the Aggies ran for 326 yards as a team.

Texas A&M receiver Ryan Swope led the Aggies in receiving with eight catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively for A&M, Dustin Harris led the team with 10 tackles. Howard Matthews and Toney Hurd Jr. tied for second with nine tackles against Oklahoma.

For the Sooners offense it was a tale of two halves. Oklahoma accumulated 27 first downs and 401 total yards of offense in the game. The Sooners passed for 278 yards and rushed for 123 against the Aggies. Jones was 35 out of 48 for 278 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Running back Brennan Clay carried the ball 10 times for 48 yards and receiver Jalen Saunders had nine catches for 63 yards.

Defensively for the Sooners it was cornerback Aaron Colvin and strong safety Javon Harris leading the team in tackles with nine apiece. Harris also had one interception. Free safety Tony Jefferson was second on the team with six tackles for the Sooners.

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