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11/03/2012 7:24 PM EDT
No. 16 Texas A&M beats No. 17 Miss St 38-13
TEXAS A&M 38, MISSISSIPPI ST 13

By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies
shredded another Southeastern Conference defense.



The redshirt freshman picked apart Mississippi State by
completing 30 of 36 passes for 311 yards and danced around the
No. 17 Bulldogs for 129 yards rushing and two touchdowns,
leading the 16th-ranked Aggies to a 38-13 victory on Saturday.



A relative unknown before the season, Manziel is posting
consistently terrific performances that are starting to generate
whispers of Heisman Trophy consideration. He has certainly been
the unquestioned star for the upstart Aggies.



"He has a green light to make plays, some improvised, some
called," Texas A&M first-year coach Kevin Sumlin said.



He made those plays in bunches against the Bulldogs.



Maybe the most impressive was a 37-yard touchdown run midway
through the second quarter that pushed the Aggies' lead to 21-0.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Manziel rolled right, and when he didn't
see an open receiver, weaved around multiple Mississippi State
defenders on his way to the end zone.



Sumlin admitted the Aggies are still adjusting to their
quarterback's uncanny playmaking ability.



It's a good problem to have.



"We're lucky to have him," running back Ben Malena said. "The
play is never over. You've got to stay in the play and try to
help him out any way you can."



Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2 SEC) has won all five of its road games this
season. Christine Michael ran for 50 yards and two touchdowns,
and Ryan Swope caught nine passes for 121 yards.



The Aggies' quick-tempo offense ran 97 plays and gained 693
total yards. Mississippi State had just 310 yards.



"That's as bad of a performance as I think we've had here,"
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said.



Tyler Russell completed 19 of 30 passes for 212 yards, with one
touchdown and one interception for Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2),
which has lost two in a row.



Mississippi State's defense had been one of the best in the SEC
this season - especially in the secondary - but was blitzed
early and often by the Aggies' unpredictable offense.



Manziel completed mostly short passes in the first half, but hit
on a few long ones. When the Bulldogs dropped too far back into
pass coverage, the speedy freshman gained yards with his feet.



By halftime, Manziel had completed 18 of 22 passes for 164 yards
and run for 82 yards as the Aggies grabbed a 24-0 lead.



If there was any doubt about the outcome, Texas A&M cleared that
up with the first drive of the third quarter, cruising 75 yards
on nine plays and scoring on a 1-yard run by Michael to push the
lead to 31-0.



Now a little more than halfway through his first season at Texas
A&M, Sumlin's offense is operating with impressive efficiency.
Over the past six weeks, the Aggies have scored 58 points on
Arkansas, 59 on Louisiana Tech, 63 on Auburn and now 38 on the
Bulldogs.



The Aggies were balanced, gaining 361 yards on the ground and
332 through the air.



The only knock against Manziel this season has been a tendency
for turnovers, but he avoided them while Texas A&M built its
early lead. His only mistake was a fumble into the end zone as
he tried to stretch for a touchdown in the second half.



By then, the Aggies had the game well in hand.



It was a crushing loss for the Bulldogs, who started the season
7-0 and had aspirations of competing for the SEC Western
Division title.



But the Bulldogs have absorbed lopsided losses to Alabama and
Texas A&M in consecutive weeks. It doesn't get any easier with a
road game against LSU next weekend.



Russell threw for just 29 yards in the first half and was
stopped behind the line of scrimmage on the first drive by Texas
A&M's Damontre Moore, who leads the SEC with 11 1/2 sacks.



"We knew (Russell) is a poised quarterback," Moore said. "He
sits in there and makes throws. But that can be a good or a bad
thing. He extends plays and that can be good for the pass rush."



By the time Russell had some success it was too late. He threw a
14-yard pass to Chad Bumphis in the third quarter and added a
4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.



LaDarius Perkins led the Bulldogs with 42 yards rushing, and
Arceto Clark caught five passes for 64 yards.



"We as a team played very poorly," Mullen said. "That's 100
percent my fault. As head football coach, that all falls on my
shoulders. In every phase, we played very poorly. I will give
them credit - their kids played very well. They have a good
football team."



---



Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

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