BIRMINGHAM, AL -- Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel won or shared the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week award for the third time on Monday after rallying the Aggies to a comeback victory over Ole Miss last week.
Manziel, from Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas, shared this week’s SEC Freshman honor with linebacker Bernardrick McKinney of Mississippi State after leading the Aggies on a pair of late touchdown drives to erase a 10-point fourth quarter deficit in a 30-27 victory over Ole Miss. A&M’s victory over the Rebels marked the Aggies’ first-ever conference road victory in the SEC.
Facing a 10-point deficit midway through the final stanza and pinned on the A&M goal line, Manziel converted a crucial 3rd-and-19 situation with a 32-yard pass to fellow freshman Mike Evans. After a 36-yard burst by running back Ben Malena, Manziel pulled the Aggies within four points with a 29-yard scramble to paydirt. After the Aggie defense got the ball back with just over three minutes remaining, Manziel completed the comeback with a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Ryan Swope. Ole Miss tried to answer, but junior safety Toney Hurd Jr. squelched the Rebel rally with an interception at the A&M 31.
Manziel generated 320 yards of total offense with 129 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 191 yards and a score through the air. Manziel is the nation’s top freshman in rushing, passing efficiency, total offense and points responsible for. Manziel also received SEC Freshman of theWeek honors from Southern Pigskin.
With the victory, the Aggies moved into the top 25 rankings for the first time in 2012. Heading into this week’s game against Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, La., the Aggies are ranked No. 22 by the Associated Press media poll and No. 21 in the FBS Coaches’ Top 25 poll.
Also entering the polls for the first time this season was Louisiana Tech, who were ranked No. 23 in the media poll and No. 24 in the coaches poll. It will be the first game between two ranked teams in the city of Shreveport since the 1993 Independence Bowl between No. 21 Indiana and No. 22 Virginia Tech.