World, meet Johnny Football. Johnny, meet World.
On Saturday, we find out who Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is: is he the Johnny Football that torched defenses such as Mississippi State’s and Auburn’s, or is he the Johnny Interception that found LSU defensive backs three times in a 24-19 loss to the Tigers?
Manziel averages roughly 383 yards of all-purpose offense by himself this season, but Alabama has not given up a 300-yard performance to one player since Arkansas’s Ryan Mallett put 350 on the Tide in 2010. However, in that game, Mallett threw three interceptions, two in the fourth quarter, and ended up losing the game in front of the home fans.
Manziel has stepped up his game recently, accounting for 440 yards on the road against Mississippi State last week. It has been over 10 years since Alabama gave up such an outing, when LSU’s Rohan Davey had a 540 yard day for the Tigers.
Manziel’s yards tend to work their way into points, as well. Four times the Aggies have ended the game with more than 50 points, two of those games being 60 point or more efforts. Alabama, however, last gave up 50 points when it gave up 51 to Tennessee almost a decade ago in 2003.
Messing with Texas
The Crimson Tide have found a way to toy with the state of Texas within their own state, both in games and in recruiting.
Alabama is 9-2 in Bryant-Denny Stadium when facing colleges coming to Tuscaloosa from Texas. Alabama is undefeated against North Texas in Bryant-Denny Stadium, 4-0, and against Houston, 5-0, but dropped both meetings with TCU that took place in Tuscaloosa.
At times, Alabama has even done it using their own products. This season, Alabama has two starters from the state of Texas, defensive lineman Damion Square and kicker Cade Foster, and one more that would be starting if not for a season-ending knee injury, wide receiver DeAndrew White. Alabama also has reserve offensive lineman Chad Lindsey and quarterback Alec Morris.
Although the two will be playing their first ever conference game against each other, Alabama and Texas A&M have quite the history with each other.
The two teams met in the 1942 Cotton Bowl after the 1941 season, a national championship season for Alabama, with the Tide coming out on top 29-21. The Aggies exacted revenge in the 1968 Cotton Bowl with a 20-16 victory despite two rushing touchdowns from Kenny Stabler. Alabama took both halves of a home-and-home series with the Aggies, winning in Birmingham in 1985 and College station in 1988.
The two programs can also thank each other for a portion of the history they have as individuals. Not only did Paul “Bear” Bryant leave Texas A&M to take over the Alabama program and lead it to six national championships, he also coached Gene Stallings while in College Station, who coached the Tide to its 1992 national championship.