By Will Martin
Texas A&M Aggies vs. SMU Mustangs
Saturday – September 20 – 2:30pm
Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas
For the last two years it seems all the talk, all the rage was over the abilities and antics of one Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel. No question some of the numbers reached were certainly worth a marvel.
How quickly we (as fans) forget. There is a local flavor to the follow-up.
Go back to August 28 when a former Southlake Carroll standout proceeded to put a 500 yard air strike over the #9 ranked Gamecocks of South Carolina for a 52-28 victory. Kenny Hill was the new man in the Aggie helm of the offense. Ready to lead, locked and loaded.
Follow that with a 73-3 home victory over Lamar September 6 and a 38-10 victory over Rice at College Station September 13. Three victories for Mr. Hill with a passing average of 381 per game and leading the SEC with 1,094 yards in the air. Hill’s yards per game is good enough for a #6 ranking nationally. Add to that a nice statistic of 11 touchdown passes without an interception (81 for 117).
Behind the throwing prowess of Kenny Hill lies the rushing tandem of Trey and Brandon Williams. The two have run for a collective 266 yards on 42 attempts. You can also look for Tra Carson (18-96 yards) and Brice Dolezal (11-87) to get the occasional call for the run.
If flushed out the pocket or well into a 5 to 7 step drop Hill has may options to throw deep or dump off. Malcome Kennedy (24-258 yards) and Speedy Noils (12-197 yards) are two of the A&M’s options. In that mix also you must also be leery of Edward Pope (10-167), Sabian Holmes (5-107), and Josh Reynolds (11-177) for a quick slant or a deep route.
Howard Matthews and Justin Bass are your tackle leaders on the defense with 24 and 19 respectively while Myles Garrett, Devonta Burns, and Armani Watts each have 15 for the Aggies. Myles Garrett your Quarterback sack leader with 5.5 for a total of 34 yards.
A further breakdown of the numbers tells us that Team Sumlin is good for 54 points, 408 yards passing, and 595 total yards on offense. In short what will amount to a long day for the Mustangs of SMU.
Kevin Sumlin is now in his third year as the Aggies coach. 20 wins in his first two full seasons along with a 3-0 start. 2013 began and ended with bowl victories in the Cotton and Chick-fil-A Bowl. Kevin Sumlin was your 2012 SEC Coach Of The Year by the AP. Prior to College Station Sumlin coached the Houston Cougars from 2008-2011.
Sumlin now makes a visit to the Hilltop to try and ruin an SMU home opener mere days after a surprising resignation from June Jones September 8. The man who brought SMU football back to prominence decided to get away from the game and re-evaluate where his priorities lie. Two losses to Baylor and North Texas by a combined 90-7 might do that to you.
Tom Mason will handle the interim duties for the remainder of the season on the Hilltop. This also happens to be SMU’s 100th season playing football in Texas. The birth of Mustang football began 9/14/15 (1915) with Ray Morrison at the original helm.
The rivalry itself goes all the way back to 1916. Last year Johnny Manziel accounted for 346 yards with three touchdowns a little more than a half to help No. 10 Texas A&M win a 42-13 contest over SMU.