UHND Football Friday: Week 3

Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M QB
Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) celebrates throwing his first touchdown of the season against the Rice Owls during the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

November 10th, 2012. I watched in awe as a nineteen year old kid ran around, past, and through the best defense in the entire nation, that also happened to be coached by the best coach in the nation. This young man was about fifteen months removed from his senior prom, and yet anytime his team needed a spark, or a key first down, he delivered without even blinking. Nick Saban had no answer for him, and he led the Aggies to an enormous 29-24 upset win over the Tide in front of over 100,000 stunned Alabama fans. Most college football fans knew that Texas A&M had a very talented freshmen quarterback by the name of Johnny Manziel, but November 10th, 2012 was when Johnny Football was truly born.

From there, Manziel went to New York and collected a Heisman Trophy; the first freshmen to ever do so. And from New York he went to Cowboys stadium and embarrassed Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. As the 2012 season came to a close, there was no hotter name in college sports than Johnny Football.

Then came the off-season. An off-season that consisted of Manziel shoving a graduate assistant at practice, oversleeping and missing a day of the Manning football camp which may or may not have involved alcohol, and getting kicked out of a University of Texas fraternity party. The kid couldn’t even handle a parking ticket with class, tweeting out to followers that he “couldn’t wait to leave College Station” after he was fined by campus police. Oh yeah, and there’s that thing about him signing thousands of pieces of memorabilia. Of course, the NCAA couldn’t prove Manziel received compensation for doing so, so I will assume he did that out of the kindness of his heart.

The few fans that Manziel has left will argue that he’s just a kid. That this is just a case of boys being boys. None of us are stupid, we know that a great deal of the athletes we see on Saturday’s  go out and have a few drinks afterwords. The difference is that none of those players draw attention to themselves like Manziel, and it never becomes an issue. Many young quarterbacks have handled college stardom just fine before Manziel, and many more will after him.

It’s very had to say if Johnny will have success once he gets to the next level. Yes, he has a lot of work to do on his mechanics and it is doubtful he would be able to dance around NFL defenders like he has in the NCAA. But at the same time, the kid does have the “it” factor, and as thrived when the lights have shown brightest, so NFL teams will certainly look at that as a plus. However, if I were an NFL GM and had to decide if Johnny Manziel was the next face of my franchise, the one question would ask myself is “this kid can’t handle being an SEC star…how can he handle being an NFL quarterback?”

On Saturday, Manziel will face off against the team that helped make him famous once again. While memories of the Tide crushing Notre Dame’s season last year are still vivid, I’d be lying if said I wasn’t pulling for them this week. Nobody was rooting harder for Johnny Football that November afternoon than I was; and nobody will be rooting harder for Alabama to humble the spoiled brat this Saturday.


Aaron Murray, QB Georgia:  17-23 for 309 yards and four touchdowns in UGA’s 41-30 win over South Carolina

Taysom Hill, QB BYU: 129 passing yards, 259 rush yards and three touchdowns in BYU’s 40-21 upset win over Texas. His 259 yards rushing were the most by a QB since Vince Young had 267 in 2005.

Jeremy Gallon, WR Michigan:  Sorry, but he earned it. Set career highs with 184 receiving yards and three touchdowns in Michigan’s 41-30 win over Notre Dame


Notre Dame will travel to West Lafetytte for another meeting with Purdue. The Irish will be in a bit of an unfamiliar position; this will be the first time they’ve played the week following a loss since they played Navy on October 29th, 2011 after a loss to USC. To some, this may seem like a potential trap game. We’ve seen it before; a team with national title implications loses early in the season, and they lose their edge the next week. Fortuanatley, the Boilermakers are not a good football team, so chances at an upset are slim. Purdue lost by thirty five in week one in Cincinatti, and narrowly escaped a victory over a six win FCS team last week. They have a first year starting quarterback who was converted from  wide receiver last year and does not have a touchdown pass yet this season, so the defense will have an easier time with him than they had with Devin Gardner last weekend. A lot of huge upsets happen when the favored team is at home, so I’m happy in a lot of ways that the Irish have to travel to Purdue and step out of comfort zone a bit. I think it will help them focus at the task at end and mimize any chances at an upset. I like Notre Dame to bounce back this week, take care of business, and keep that drum quiet.


WEEK 3 PICKS: UCONN +7 over Maryland


3-1 YTD

Last week I hit on Illinois +7.5 over Cincinatti, and had my first miss of the season on Memphis +4.5 over Duke.

Feedback or questions? Contact me on Twitter (@tylerdonchez)

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  1. Well, Johnny Heisman is a perfect example of having superior QB numbers and beating himself. JM threw two game changing interceptions that decided the outcome of the game. So does anyone thing a non-mobile QB could have played in this game?? The moral of the story is: You don’t have to be a Heisman QB to beat yourself with game changing turnovers.


  2. I would really like to see Hendrix or Zaire get some meaningful minutes tonight (though it may be asking a lot of Zaire being a true freshman). My point is, and I don’t mean to be overly critical of Rees, they just don’t look right on offense with Rees behind center – never have in the time he has been there and played. Obviously, it’s not the same offense without Golson, I think we all understand that, but they are far too predictable when Rees is running the offense. They need to play a quarterback that is better suited to run the style of offense they want to play – and that has to be Hendrix (now in his 4th year in the system). Unless Hendrix has shown that he just can’t play at this level, then he needs to play and see what he can become and what this offense can become. I would say the same about Zaire but he has been sidelined with mono and may not be cleared to play yet. In addition, I think it is extremely difficult for a true freshman to come in and play at this level without a year to learn the system. Therefore, I say play Hendrix and give him a legitimate chance to run the dual-threat offense they want to play. Can he be as productive as Golson? I don’t know, but I do think the offense can be far more productive with him behind center than with Rees because it allows them the opportunity to use their personnel in the manner in which they are better suited. Go Irish!

    1. Amen Todd,

      This should be an ideal game where you would allow TR get his 21+ points in the 1st half and can afford to play AH in the 3rd Qtr and MZ in the 4th.

      Providing our ‘new leader’ of the defense shows up?


  3. Manziel is a spoiled rich kid who thinks he has some sense of entitlement. I admire him for his athletic abilities but not his personal demeanor. I got a feeling this game against Bama this year may not quite be the same. I did see where Bama might be in trouble.

    As to the boys in Blue and Gold, they need to take the opportunity to play well today.

    Go Irish

  4. SteelFanRob,

    Did you hear about Bama being investigated for 5 NCAA recruiting violations utilizing inside x-player runners. People say their title could be in jeopardy. Check-it out on their ESPN team site.

    1. JC,

      At some point ND will have to decide if it can and even wants to compete when corruption and moral decay rules the day in college football. The NCAA is a joke and allows for this. It’s even worse than money. At OK ST they apparently also use sex and drugs to recruit. Really, at some point ND will have to make up its mind if wants to continue being unequally yoked with this lot. Between ND’s strict academic requirements before and after admission, and its zero tolerance for corruption in the AD, one has to wonder if it’s possible to compete with schools that pay players, whore out their co-eds, buy drugs for recruits, and then don’t require them to be students. This is what it has come down to. Thanks, NCAA!

      1. Well Rob,No you can’t compete with places like Bama who can use Uruk-hai who can not read or write on their line year in year out. I think you should be allowed to have a reading challenge, where you challenge one of the opponents to read and if they can’t they are out of the game and if they can you lose a time out. Of course that is also why you can’t sleep walk against Michigan – you beat the teams you can.

      2. Rob,

        The NCAA needs to right the ship and pass-out Bama’s NC titles to the last 3 losing teams, if indeed they are proven guilty. ND will not lower their standards.

  5. I hope Bama loses AND Manziel gets crushed (hate both). Perhaps A&M wins like Bama beat Va. Tech, with special teams and D.

    I really like JC’s prediction for a final score. But I doubt BK lets it happen.

    Realistically, if all goes well in all 3 phases of the game for us, ND wins 35-10 (with third-string D giving up either a late TD or FG).

  6. Spot on Tyler,

    I agree, Maziel’s bravado is going to catch-up with him this weekend. Saban has had plenty of time to plan for Johnny Heisman. No repeat performance here! Bama will demonstrate they do indeed have an ‘elite’ defense and it will be Maziel who will be hijacked this time.

    Watch the metrics on this one ND faithful, the likelihood is high, all will get schooled by Bama’s defense. Without question, this game will substantiate the minimun requirement for a ‘mobile QB’ to be on the same field with Bama’s defense.

    GoooooIrish! ND 50 – Purdue 6

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