COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Manziel mania returned to Aggieland Saturday afternoon, but most of the Aggie defense did not. Six starters were suspended for at least the first half against Rice, and that meant it was not pretty early for the Aggies.
Rice took full advantage of the depleted A&M defense, and went on a 5 play, 96-yard drive and a 5 play 57-yard drive for touchdowns in the first quarter.
The Aggies settled down a bit after that and came up with a pair of third quarter interceptions.
However, the Owls still rolled up 509 yards of total offense.
Despite the suspensions, Kevin Sumlin says there's a bright side to this bad situation. "One way to address it is to play the young guys that we have. Like I said, it's difficult for those guys and for us as a team, but the good news is we're getting a lot of experience for a bunch of young, talented guys that we're going to need for the rest of the season."
Senior defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. added, "We have a lot of confidence in our young guys. They've been working hard at fall camp, and they have put the work in to be starters. The older guys have made a few mistakes, and the coaches handled it accordingly. I feel like when they get back, we'll definitely get a few veterans back, but right now we have to play with what we have. They did a pretty good job once they got their nerves out."
All in all 11 true freshmen and one redshirt freshman played at least a snap for the Aggie defense Saturday.
A&M will now turn their attention to Sam Houston State in a 6 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Kyle Field.