Johnny Manziel and the No. 10 Texas A&M Aggies square off against the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners Friday night at Cowboys Stadium in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
The former Big-12 foes will renew their rivalry, with the Sooners holding the all-time record of 11-19. Oklahoma won the last contest 41-25 in 2011 before the Aggies moved to the SEC this year.
Manziel forged maybe the greatest freshman season in college football history, and led the Aggies to an astounding first year in the always dominant SEC. He set a record for total yards with 4,600, and led the conference in rushing with 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Receiver Mike Evans was a huge beneficiary, making 75 catches for 1,022 yards and five scores, along with Ryan Swope who has 809 yards receiving and a team-high seven touchdown catches.
All that offense overshadowed the country’s 28th ranked defense that allowed just 22.5 points per game, and held opponents to 3.7 yards per rush and just a 30 percent success rate on third down.
Oklahoma will counter with the nation’s fourth best passing attack behind senior quarterback Landry Jones and receiver Kenny Stills.
Jones totaled 3,989 passing yards and 29 touchdowns, including a six-touchdown performance in a 50-49 win over West Virginia back in November. Stills 75 catches for 892 and 11 scores.
Behind that tandem are running backs Damien Williams and Blake Bell. Williams totaled 905 rushing yards and 11 scores, while red zone threat Bell matched the touchdown total with 190 yards. Bell helped Oklahoma convert 91 percent of their red zone attempts this season.
Manziel will have to battle a tough history for Heisman winners in the Cotton Bowl. Those who have captured college football’s biggest prize are 3-4 in the Cotton Bowl, though the Aggies are responsible for two of those losses.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoop will be responsible for stopping Manziel, and has a 7-6 career record in bowl games since taking over in 1999.
The game kicks-off at 8 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast by FOX.
Betting Odds: Texas A&M is favored by 3.5 points
Over/Under: 72 points
Prediction: This game will be a total shootout between Manziel and Jones. Still if the Sooners breakout to an early lead, Williams and Blake will lead the way to slow down Manziel. Look for A&M to pull out a victory late in the fourth quarter.
Preview: Texas A&M 40, Oklahoma 35
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