Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Johnny Manziel violated this Oklahoma defense Friday night in the Cotton Bowl in a way not suitable for small children. Oh, the horror!
That's the PG rated version of what Johnny Manziel did to this Oklahoma defense Friday night and even that's disturbing. Seeing as this is a family joint, we can't actually show you the NC-17 rated equivalent reality of what we all saw him to do this OU defense.
To say Johnny Manziel had a field day against this OU defense would be an insult to field days. Everyone knew going in he was going to make some plays and get his yards, but what the enormity of what he did Friday night is another thing entirely.
He was toying with Oklahoma defenders, possibly like he's never toyed with another team all year. Anyone questioning this kid's ability after Friday night is just, well as the kids say, "Haters gonna hate."
The frustration on at least this OU fan's part is not that he dominated the game or routinely made an already overmatched Oklahoma defense look embarrassingly bad, but that the apparent gameplan for how to defend him was so incredibly uninspried.
Admittedly, this is based on only one viewing of the game and a night's worth of sleep trying to erase said game from the memory banks. However, it sure looked like, at least for a decent portion of the game, Mike Stoops once again chose to rely on his front four and play man-to-man coverage behind them. Both being things that (1) virtually anyone who knows anything about football were saying prior to the game could not happen and (2) perhaps even more to the point were things that had failed (and failed miserably, mind you) on repeated occasions during the regular season.
To be fair, again this is based on memory so another viewing and our 'Film Study' breakdown may eventually disprove this, but if the gameplan going in was to go with the same scheme that had failed them so many times in the past then I'm simply at a loss.
You could argue, and after what we saw only the "haters" amongst us would disagree, that no matter what Oklahoma did Friday night they weren't stopping Manziel. But again, even going in it wasn't about stopping him so much as containing him. And after 633 total yards allowed, a ridiculous 516 of which Manziel was responsible for all on his own, I think it's fair to say Oklahoma failed to do either.
We knew going in that Oklahoma was going to struggle up front, they've done so all year long. We knew going in that this was going to be their most formidable challenge against an outstanding Texas A&M offensive line. But even in knowing that, our greatest fears were realized early on with the sheer domination and the appearance as if our pass rushers were using a backyard style 'Ten Mississippi' count before coming after the quarterback. Even the day after I'm not sure what to call that. "Domination" just doesn't seem to do it enough justice.
Yes, this is not a "typical" Oklahoma defense up front. Yes, there is a significant top-level talent deficiency on this defense as a whole. BUT it's not like these things suddenly popped up out of nowhere. This was known going in just like it was known that Mike Stoops was going to have a month to try and scheme around them. And Friday night is apparently what he came up with. Needless to say, more than a little disappointing.
And as frustrating as it was to watch Manziel absolutely shred this defense, he wasn't the only one who had success. As we and others mentioned, the Aggies rushing attack was more than just their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. Ben Malena and Trey Williams didn't necessarily combine for an exorbitant amount of yards (97) or carries (14), but they were highly efficient averaging nearly seven yards a pop. Hell, with Manziel A&M averaged 10.5 yards per carry on the ground. 10.5 yards per carry (!!!).
Through the air, Manziel was about what we expected going in. Efficient, relying mostly on shorter routes, and picked his spots with the deep ball. Unfortunately for this Oklahoma defense he connected on most of his deep throws and the score could have been even worse had he not missed on at least one to Ryan Swope who was a good five yards behind the OU defense.
"Thank you, sir! May I have another?" I mean, what else can you really say at this point?