JOE BIDDLE: Vanderbilt can't stop Johnny Football - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Vanderbilt can't stop Johnny Football

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By Coach James Franklin's math, Vanderbilt was 0-1 this week.

Franklin takes them a week at a time. His team is now 4-4 after Texas A&M took his Commodores out behind the barn and put an old-fashioned country whuppin' on them.

The final was 56-24 and defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel enjoyed another Heisman worthy day at the office.

He started 10 of 10, finished 25 of 35, worth four touchdowns and 305 yards before leaving the game with six minutes left in the third quarter.

The redshirt sophomore entered the game nursing a tender shoulder. I would hate to see what he could have done with a sound shoulder attached to that golden arm.

The No. 16-BCS ranked Aggies wasted no time turning Vanderbilt's first trip to College Station into a nightmare by taking a 21-0 lead after 15 minutes.

Franklin was a man of few words after the loss that dropped the Commodores to 1-4 in the SEC.

"Starting with a three-and-out against a high powered opponent is not the way you want to start the game on offense,'' Franklin said.

Franklin blamed poor punting and turnovers as reasons Vanderbilt lost.

"The turnovers on offense were the story of the game. Starting the second half with an interception return for a touchdown is difficult. Turnovers on the road are difficult to overcome, especially on the road in the SEC,'' Franklin said.

He didn't mention failure for his team to convert third downs offensively, or to stop the Aggies on third downs. Both were crushing blows to Vanderbilt's hopes.

The Commodores were only 3 of 14 on third down conversions while A&M cashed in seven of 11 times to keep the chains moving.

The biggest reason Vanderbilt lost, however, was A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. There were doubts up until pre-game warm-ups as to whether Manziel would play or not.

"In my mind, I was always going to play,'' Manziel said after the game. "It would take a lot to keep me off the field and away from these guys. These guys depend on me and they expect me to be there, so if I have to come in (during the week) and take treatment, or whatever I have to do to get back, I had to do it for these guys.''
 
The redshirt sophomore started the game by orchestrating a 75-yard drive in 13 plays, taking 4:28 off the clock. The next touchdown drive ate up 66 yards in 6 plays and took up 1:21 to complete. They came back with an 80-yard touchdown drive in 7 plays. All of 2:05 expired on the game clock. It was 21-0 after the first quarter and any semblance of last week's win and defensive might over a banged up Georgia team was not in sight.

Vanderbilt is not alone in trying to lasso Manziel. It marked the 11th consecutive game that the Aggies have scored 40-plus points on opponents.

It could have been worse. The Aggies saw drives stalled by five turnovers – with four lost fumbles and an interception. It took them less than 25 minutes on the game clock to post 56 points, gaining 558 yards on offense.

"If we can keep from getting too many penalties and keeping the ball on our side and keep our turnovers down, the game would have been a little different in the first half,'' Manziel said. "But we came out and played a good second half.

"It's been a little frustrating but we need to continue to get better. We aren't where we were last year, as far as all-around, but we're getting better.''

For Vanderbilt, it has a bye week, then a trip to Florida. They have four games left, must win two of them to make a third consecutive bowl game.

At least they don't have to face Johnny Football again.

Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.  

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