Thanks to its redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, the nearly 14-point underdog Texas A&M Aggies and Southeastern Conference newbies toppled No. 1 Alabama, 29-24.
Showing cool under fire against Alabama’s top-rated defense, Manziel staked the No. 15 Aggies to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and the Aggies escaped a last-ditch, fourth-and-goal effort by the Crimson Tide to pull out the victory. The win also earned Texas A&M selection as the Week 11 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest.
Manziel led his team with his arm and his feet, completing 24-of-31 passing for 253 yards and two touchdowns and most importantly, zero interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 18 carries for 92 yards.
Ironically, the Aggies (8-2, 5-2), playing in the SEC for the first season after ditching the Big 12, also might have ended the league’s run of BCS titles at six years. The defending national champion Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1), who have been No. 1 almost all season, had won 13 straight.
They almost pulled off a second straight scintillating comeback, having scored a winning touchdown with 51 seconds left the week before against LSU. Trailing, 29-24, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron drove the ball quickly downfield with a 54-yard pass to Kenny Bell down to the Texas A&M 6-yard line.
Two scrambles and an Eddie Lacy run left one final shot on fourth down from the 2. However, McCarron threw his second interception of the game when the Aggies’ Deshazor Everett stepped in front of his fourth-down pass at the goal line with 1:36 left in the game.
A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season.
This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.