Redemption and validation will be on the line Saturday when the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide roll in to College Station to face off against Johnny Manziel and the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies.
Despite winning the BCS National Championship in 2012, Alabama will be seeking revenge after last season's 29-24 loss in Tuscaloosa to Johnny Football & Co.
Alabama’s relatively inexperienced defence will have the opportunity to buck a recent trend of Crimson Tide defences struggling against mobile quarterbacks. Of Alabama’s five losses since 2010, four of those losses came against offences that utilized mobile quarterbacks.
"We’re just excited for the opportunity we got," junior safety Vinnie Sunseri said. "You shouldn’t really get excited for a certain game, you should get excited for every game if you’re a true competitor like Coach (Nick) Saban says."
The Tide will lean heavily on star linebacker C.J. Mosley as they hope to contain the explosiveness of Johnny Football and the Aggies offence.
For Johnny Football, this Saturday is a chance to silence critics and validate Texas A&M on a national stage.
Despite the pressure, Manziel seems content to downplay the importance of the Aggies’ week 3 match-up.
“It feels like another game, feels like week three of the season," Manziel said in quotes distributed by Texas A&M media relations.
"Having a full line-up and all of our guys back will be nice but for us we have to continue to get better like we did last year and see how things go."
This off-season has been nothing short of tumultuous for Manziel, but his performances in 2013 seem to indicate that he hasn’t missed a beat.
After sitting out the first half of A&M’s season opener against Rice, Manziel proceeded to light up the scoreboard tossing 3 second half touchdowns in a 52-31 rout of the Owls.
Last week Manziel gashed 2-time FCS-runner ups Sam Houston State for 462 total yards and 4 touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing) in a 65-28 blowout.
An explosive performance from the Aggies offence will go a long way, but Texas A&M will need to see improvement from its defence against Alabama if it wants to pull off the upset.
The Aggies defence struggled in the first half against Rice, and the unit as a whole ranks just 84th in the nation in points allowed.
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