Manziel Misses Series, Storybook Ending Against Auburn
Texas A&M fans held their breath as Johnny Manziel left a close game against Auburn in the fourth quarter with an injury before returning to score the game-winning touchdown.
That's the storybook ending Aggies fans would've liked, anyway. Instead, Auburn's running game parted a putrid Texas A&M defense to reclaim the lead, 45-41, with 1:19 left.
Manziel's hero narrative dissolved at the Auburn 20-yard line with a sack on fourth-and-13.
The quarterback appeared to injure his shoulder on a fourth-quarter scramble, getting crunched into the ground underneath a defender. Matt Joeckel replaced him just before Texas A&M kicked a short field goal to assume a 34-24 lead.
A Joeckel-led series produced a three-and-out, and the Aggies trailed Auburn, 38-34, by the time Manziel returned.
At times it's felt like Texas A&M must score on every possession to win in the SEC this season. The 2012 Heisman winner and his offense had covered defensive blemishes with the exception of a 49-42 loss at Alabama.
Manziel's temporary exit proved just how fragile the Texas A&M juggernaut is this season. If he hadn't exited, Manziel would've faced a third-and-goal from the 2 with the potential for a 14-point lead, which Joeckel couldn't convert. By the time Manziel returned, he trailed by four points.
The Aggies (5-2, 2-2) needed every series from Manziel last week to beat Ole Miss, 41-38, and didn't pull away from Arkansas until late in a 12-point win. The team has scored between 41 and 49 points in four SEC games, losing half.
After the injury, Manziel grabbed a football and appeared ready to throw a practice toss to receiver Mike Evans on the sideline, but pulled the ball down without making an attempt. Manziel then headed out of sight to a training table under the stands, according to the CBS broadcast.
Manziel completed 7-of-7 passes for 61 yards and ran for a 2-yard score in his first drive back, giving Texas A&M a 41-38 advantage. But his magic ran out in the final seconds.
Auburn improved to 6-1, 3-1 in the SEC under Gus Malzhan.
The loss by the Aggies capped a day in which Texas A&M, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida all lost and marked the fourth Top-10 team to lose in eight days.