For the first time in more than a calendar year, Johnny Manziel didn't really look like Johnny Football on Saturday, when a maligned but talented and athletic LSU defense rose to meet the Manziel Challenge far more effectively than anyone has all season in a 34-10 LSU home win.
Manziel completed just 16 of 41 passes for 224 yards and a pair of interceptions and rushed for just 54 yards in the worst performance of the year for himself and the Aggies offense. Arguably, the last time Manziel looked human was when LSU visited College Station a year ago and won 24-19, a game in which Manziel threw three interceptions and was sacked three times.
For LSU defensive coordinator John Chavous, the two-game corralling of Manziel should go down as a resume-worthy achievement. Meanwhile, the loss is Texas A&M's third of the season and figures to damage Manziel's chances for a second consecutive Heisman Trophy. Before Saturday, the Aggies' lowest point total of the season had been 41.
But instead of making excuses, Manziel was fully complimentary of LSU's defense in his postgame remarks.
"They came out and mixed a lot of things up and kept us guessing, and it really took us awhile to figure it out. ... Coming from different places, bringing some blitzes, and really getting a free rusher at will," Manziel said, according to video from texags.com. "We got punched in the mouth today, and it wasn't fun. ... Offensively, me and (star offensive tackle) Jake (Matthews) have to get these guys together and pull them closer than ever."
Not surprisingly, it was an equally quiet day for star Aggies receiver Mike Evans, who had four catches for 51 yards and no touchdowns.
"Calls that could go either way. Both sides complaining a little bit during the game about contact with receivers down the field," Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said in reference to Evans' low production. "But for the most part, that's how they were going to call the game. So you've got to adjust and play that way."
LSU got interceptions from senior safety Craig Loston, who ranks No. 53 on NFL Media draft analyst Gil Brandt's Hot 100 list, and freshman Rashard Robinson.