Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel ran for two touchdowns, threw for two more and had a Cotton Bowl-record 516 total yards as 10th-ranked Texas A&M wrapped up its first SEC season with a 41-13 win over No. 12 Oklahoma on Friday night.
The Aggies (11-2) never trailed after Manziel tiptoed the sideline for a 23-yard TD run on their opening drive of the game.
Texas A&M took control of the game by scoring touchdowns on its first three drives in the third quarter, going ahead 34-13 when Manziel threw a 33-yard TD pass to Ryan Swope on a fourth-and-4 play.
Oklahoma (10-3), which like the Aggies entered the game with a five-game winning streak, went three-and-out on its first three drives after halftime.
Manziel set an FBS bowl record with his 229 yards rushing on 17 carries, and completed 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards.
When Darrell Hazell arrived at Kent State two years ago after seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State, one of the first things he realized in his first head coaching job was that the Golden Flashes needed an ego boost.
The program had suffered through decades of losing, and Hazell believed changes needed to start with the way the team perceived itself. So he began guiding the group though imagery sessions in the team room at Dix Stadium.
One of the first sessions Hazell conducted has again crossed the minds of many of the KSU players as the No. 25 Golden Flashes (11-2) prepare to face the Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-3) in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Sunday night.
The teams’ nicknames were central to that session.
“Before, we all really didn’t know what a golden eagle or a golden flash was,” senior kicker Freddy Cortez said. “So at first when coach starts showing us films, we were like, ’Oh, he’s just going to show us films of birds.’ ”
Instead, Cortez and his teammates were surprised by what they saw.
“It showed the size of the eagle and what it does,” he said. “How it soars around, looking for its prey then isn’t afraid to attack animals much bigger than itself. That’s when we really began to take pride in being a Golden Flash.”
Shaped by the imagery, Cortez said he felt the team begin to mimic an eagle’s mindset toward the end of last season when the Flashes rebounded from a 1-6 start by winning four of their last five games.