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Bearkats make last-minute statement in loss to Aggies, 47-28

Sports Reporter

Published: Monday, November 19, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 02:11

Megan Laurie | The Houstonian

Megan Laurie | The Houstonian

Running back Timothy Flanders ignited a second half attack against Texas A&M leading the Bearkats to score 28 unanswered points Saturday at Kyle Field.

The Sam Houston State Bearkats were unable to contain Heisman candidate Johnny Manziel as he accounted for four touchdowns and 367 total yards in TAMU’s 47-28 victory.

 “I was really disappointed in our first half,” SHSU coach Willie Fritz said. “We made some mental busts, we didn’t tackle very well. Offensively we just missed some assignments: blocking the wrong guy, lined up like we though they were going to line up and we just didn’t do a very good job.”

After a close defensive match in the first quarter, Manziel rushed 100 yards for two touchdowns to take the game from SHSU’s reach. The Bearkats’ defense began to buckle in the second quarter as A&M attacked from the no huddle offense.

“It’s a fast pace, no doubt about it,” Fritz said. “But it’s the people that are executing the fast pace that make it difficult to defend. They just didn’t have some regular dude back there at quarterback. [Manziel] knows what he’s doing back there. It’s a different situation when a guy scrambles as much as he does and if you don’t have gap integrity and you’re not good in your lanes, he’s going to rip you.”

Manziel became the fifth player and first FBS freshman to rush for at least 1,000 yards and pass for at least 3,000 with Saturday’s performance.

Brian Bell and company were unable to gain momentum against the aggie defense to finish the half trailing 34-0.

“We had some opportunities to make it interesting at halftime but we didn’t do a very good job with ball security offensively and we got beat over the top,” Fritz said. “We had a couple of big busts and they might have surprised some of our secondary guys.”

The Aggies continued their momentum from the first half, scoring two touchdowns for 169 yards in just 28 seconds to begin the third quarter.

Manziel connected with receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu for 89 yards in the opening drive of the second half and then was followed by an 80 yard pass from back-up Jameill Showers to extend A&M’s lead 40-0.

SHSU eventually got on the board with a two-yard rush from Flanders to close the third quarter 7-47. The Bearkats then led a 21 unanswered attack in the fourth quarter.

“We knew we could do it,” receiver Trey Diller said. “We got some awesome players and Brian Bell knows how to run an offense.”

Bell threw for only 49 yards in the first half and completed 7-17 passes. With the late game life, Bell closed the night out with 150 passing yards and connected 14-30 passes with one touchdown.

“We just came out and told ourselves the second half we’re not going to quit,” Bell said. “I just didn’t make some throws in the first half, and the second half they were clicking a little bit more.”

Saturday’s matchup closed the Bearkats’ season 8-3 which sealed them a spot in the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs.

SHSU clenched a bye week for the first round and will face off against Cal Poly Dec. 1 at Bowers Stadium.

This year Fritz and company will look to finish with a playoff title.

“We’re proud to be in the field and especially excited about earning a berth for a second consecutive season,” Fritz said to gobearkats. “Any time you get in the playoffs, you have a chance to win the title.”

The winner of Dec. 1 matchup will go on to face either No. 3 seed Montana State or the winner of the first round between Stony Brook and Villanova.

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