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Johnny Manziel looks like Fran Tarkenton in victory


Midway through a game in which scouts from the Dolphins, Cowboys, Bears, Jaguars, Saints and Bills were in attendance, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel made a play against Mississippi State that reminded me of an all-time great quarterback.

Rolling to his right, he eluded one pass rusher by pivoting and spinning the other way. Now rolling left, he was met by another pass rusher and spun again, making the defender fall in the process, before completing the pass to a receiver.

It was just one of the many on-the-run plays Manziel made against the Bulldogs in a 51-41 win, a game many expect to be his last at Kyle Field.

Watching the game, the guy Manziel reminded me of was Fran Tarkenton, the former Vikings quarterback who was one of the best at making things happen after a play broke down. Like Tarkenton, Manziel is an undersized quarterback but an excellent scrambler who has the ability to make throws going to his left in addition to wheeling around and throwing the ball going to his right. Manziel's throws often don't get to his receivers with a perfect spiral, but more often than not they do get there.

This isn't to say that Manziel is or will be as good as Tarkenton, but when you watch him, Tarkenton is the guy you think of because of his ability to hurt you on broken plays.

Manziel finished Saturday's game 30-of-39 for 446 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions and also used his feet to rush for 47 yards.

What worries you about his performance Saturday, of course, are the three interceptions. The first one came on a play where Manziel held the ball too long and made a bad decision down at the goal line. The second interception wasn't really his fault, coming on a tipped pass his receiver probably should have caught. On the last interception, the Mississippi State safety made a great play coming across the field and snagging the pass along the right sideline, but it was a throw that Manziel probably shouldn't have made.

Overall, despite his big numbers, I thought Manziel was a little flat vs. Mississippi State. It was an exciting performance, but one that neither helped nor hurt his chances to win his second straight Heisman Trophy.

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